France denied any crisis with Morocco, stressing that the partnership between the two countries is "exceptional."
The spokesman of the French Foreign Ministry, Anne-Claire Legendre, assured on Thursday that the country is "not in crisis" with Morocco, following criticism in Morocco of the European country's approach towards Rabat.
"On the contrary, we have an exceptional partnership that we intend to nurture," Legendre said, recalling the visit of Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna to Morocco in December, which she described as "very positive."
The spokeswoman confirmed that French President Emmanuel Macron plans to visit Morocco during the first quarter of this year, saying it will be a milestone in the relationship.
The Moroccan political class has been highly critical of France since the European Parliament adopted a resolution a week ago expressing concern over the deterioration of media freedom in the kingdom.
European lawmakers in Strasbourg urged Morocco to "respect freedom of expression and media freedom" and "guarantee imprisoned journalists (...) a fair trial."
Meanwhile, Moroccan MP Ahmed Touizi of the Authenticity and Modernity Party said that the European Parliament's decision stands behind it, calling the EU text a "desperate attempt to influence Morocco's independent judiciary."
"Behind the scenes of this decision hides a country which we had thought of as a friend and a solid partner, but the smell of gas has made it lose it," he said, referring to warming ties between France and Algeria.
The French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman responded to these accusations, saying that the parliament exercises its powers independently, adding that France maintains a deep friendship with Morocco and discusses all issues, including human rights.
However, recent press articles and media reports noted that bilateral relations are deteriorating between the two countries. Observers doubt Macron will soon visit Morocco.
Jeune Afrique magazine reported that a misunderstanding is growing between Paris and Rabat, adding that in the face of what could be considered a manifestation of hostility from France, the Moroccan authorities believe it was difficult to return to normal.