Skip to main content

French president says no apology for colonization of Algeria

Algeria asked France to apologize for its actions during the more than 100 years of occupation.
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) poses with French historian Benjamin Stora for the delivery of a report on the colonisation and the Algerian War at the Elysee Palace in Paris on January 20, 2021. - Stora on January 20, 2021, proposed to the French president to create a in France "Memory and Truth" commission, in charge of proposing "common initiatives between France and Algeria on issues of memory" in order to reconcile the two countries. (Photo by CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTIAN H

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not apologize for France’s colonization of Algeria on Wednesday. It is not the first time Macron, heavily active on the world stage, has made controversial comments related to North Africa.

Macron said there would be “no repentance nor apologies,” the French news service Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.

The comments pertain to the French occupation of Algeria from 1830 to 1962, as well as the independence war during the last eight years of that period. France had a massive colonial empire at the time that also included Tunisia, Lebanon and Syria in the 20th century. Algeria was a unique example because Paris ruled the North African country as a part of France. Hundreds of thousands of European settlers known as pieds-noirs moved there. The majority Arab and Berber Muslim population did not have the same rights as the newcomers.

Atrocities were committed by both French and Algerian forces during the war. After independence, there was a massive exodus of pieds-noirs as well as Algerian Jews and Muslims who had obtained French citizenship to France.

Macron’s comment coincided with the release of a report he commissioned on improving ties between France and Algeria. The report recommended a “memories and truth” commission to investigate French rule in Algeria and Macron agreed to establish it, according to The New York Times.

Algerian-French ties are wrapped up in their colonial history. In July, as Black Lives Matter protests broke out internationally, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune asked France to apologize for its treatment of Algerians during the occupation.

Macron's other controversial comments on Africa include his 2017 statement that Africa’s problems were “civilizational” and the result of African families producing “seven or eight children.”

Macron, who took office in 2017, has led international efforts to help Lebanon after the Beirut explosion last August. France also conducts military operations in the Sahel region of North Africa against Islamist forces.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

The Middle East in your inbox Insights in your inbox.

Deepen your knowledge of the Middle East

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial