Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shake Up of Moroccan Consulates

There is expected to be a recall of Moroccan consuls from a number of countries after HM King Mohammed VI expressed dissatisfaction over a range of problems from neglect of duties to disdain for the Moroccan community's interests or problems

Media outlets have described the situation prevailing in some consulates as "practises that belong in another age".

One report in the Al Massae newspaper indicates that "repeated scandals" involving several Moroccan diplomats has caused attention to focus on some 70% of Moroccan consulates abroad.

When King Mohammed VI was informed of the situation by Moroccans abroad, his anger provoked an immediate reaction in the Foreign Ministry and following an emergency meeting held on the 5th of August, the Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, announced a series of measures to improve the effectiveness of consulates.

An audit of consulates will evaluate, "the performance of consular officers and local staff on the basis of criteria of competence, transparency and dedication to the Moroccan community service residing abroad".

Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar

Close attention will be paid to appointment procedures, to ensure better qualified diplomats are selected, rather than candidates whose only assets are their family names or their proximity to the senior officials of the Ministry. The short list for the consul positions was canceled, reports Al Massae, because of rumours that during the last round of appointments consuls were chosen in advance. The appointment to the consul position in Frankfurt was cited as an example.

Many diplomats who are said to be occupied only with their own affairs or with politics have been identified. A number stationed in France, Spain, Italy and Germany are expected to be recalled shortly.

Salaheddine Mezouar has said he will also reform the pension policy. The minister, who comes from Meknes, was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in October 2013.

Al Massae also cites the case of a Moroccan diplomat who refused to go to the country to which he had been appointed, on the grounds that the country in question could "negatively taint his surname". The diplomat waited a year before being appointed to another European country that he felt better suited his status, but in the meantime received all of his salary.

Emergency meeting in Rabat on August 5th

Mezouar warned against new consuls damaging the image of Morocco abroad. He also announced a rejuvenation and feminisation of the consular corps, starting from November. Finally, the Minister announced that an international hotline service for complaints by Moroccans living abroad will be operational from August.

It is worth noting that at the emergency meeting held on August 5 in Rabat, in attendance were the Interior Minister Mohamed Assad and representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Freedoms, the Ministry of Moroccans living Abroad, Foreign Affairs and Migration and the General Secretariat of Government. The presence of these officials suggests a possible change in laws affecting the Moroccan community abroad.

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