France’s controversial move: Renegotiating the 1968 Franco-Algerian agreement

The 1968 Franco-Algerian migration agreement, a longstanding pillar of the historical relationship between Algeria and France, is now at the center of political contention in Paris. Elisabeth Borne, residing in Matignon, announced that the renegotiation of this agreement, which grants Algerians favorable status regarding movement, residence, and employment in France, is on the agenda for discussions with Algerian political leaders in October 2022.

«In the conclusions of the fourth France-Algeria high-level intergovernmental committee, we mentioned the opening of discussions with a view to a fourth amendment to this agreement. We have some requests, and the Algerian government has some of its own. So it is indeed on the agenda», she declared.

However, some French politicians argue for an end to the 1968 agreement on Algerian immigration, criticizing the perceived unjustified privileged treatment given to Algerians over other foreigners.

In 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy attempted to question these agreements without success. Some Republicans seek to repeal the treaty signed 55 years ago, which streamlined the entry and residence of Algerians in France, allowing them to settle with their families even without proper documentation.

Recent strains in relations between the two countries, including difficulties in reconciliation after France granted political asylum to a Franco-Algerian activist fleeing Algeria, have fueled tensions.

 In 2021, a new diplomatic crisis erupted following France’s decision to reduce the number of visas granted to Maghreb countries.

The 1968 Algerian-French agreement, signed by Abdelaziz Bouteflika on the Algerian side and Jean Basdevanta, the then ambassador to Algiers, on the French side, has stirred controversy.

The French government, gradually preparing public opinion for the amendment of this agreement, aims to prune articles that supposedly offer advantages to Algerian workers and students in France.

These benefits, which have not been applied for many years, have allegedly been misappropriated for the benefit of nationals from other Maghreb countries.

As France moves forward with the renegotiation, the delicate political and historical implications underscore the complexities surrounding the Franco-Algerian relationship.


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