Germany has announced that it will stop issuing new Schengen visas to citizens of Morocco citing COVID-19 concerns
Rabat – The German Embassy in Rabat has today announced it will stop issuing Schengen visas, citing COVID-19 concerns. While many embassies have implemented similar measures in the past, the move is noteworthy as Morocco’s COVID-19 epidemic has been on a steady decline for months and daily new cases now amount to a fraction of Germany’s.
Today Morocco recorded 594 new cases of COVID-19, while Germany detected 9,019 according to WHO data. Germany is significantly larger but has roughly 3000 infected citizens per 100,000 while Morocco has 1,311 per 100,000 citizens.
Despite Germany’s epidemic being significantly worse than Morocco’s, the German embassy cited COVID-19 as the key reason for its decision.
The move comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries. Morocco decided to suspend contact with the German embassy on March 1. It cited “deep misunderstandings with the Federal Republic of Germany on fundamental questions of the Kingdom of Morocco.”
Officials have not yet fully elaborated on Morocco’s reasons for its halt in diplomatic cooperation with Germany’s embassy.
Likely reasons include German-Moroccan disagreements on Western Sahara, the case of Mohammed Hajib and a report from German NGO Transparency International which caused Morocco to be added to a “grey list” of problematic countries.
The latter issue could become an economically devastating move that could discourage foreign investment and reduce overall trust in Morocco.
Several experts on networking site Linkedin have expressed concerns with the listing, citing previous allegations of misuse of the grey list and highlighting countries that are worse offenders of money laundering while not being added to the list.