Bulgarians in Netherlands: Dutch Welcome UsBulgaria in EU | February 15, 2012, Wednesday // 17:42| views
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. File photo
The discriminatory website, set up by the Dutch far-right Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, is unacceptable and the party must apologize to the citizens the EU, according to an organization of Bulgarians in the Netherlands.
The statement comes from a declaration of Bulgarian citizens and organizations there, including prominent Bulgarian journalist, Daniela Gorcheva, publisher and editor-in-chief to the "Dialogue" magazine, the "St Michael" Foundation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Cultural Center in The Hague, and the Association for Bulgarian-Dutch friendship.
The authors point out that the launch of a site asking the Dutch to report complaints about central and eastern European immigrants in the Netherlands as a group of people along with all of Wilders' anti-Muslim rhetoric is an act that aims at inciting negativity against particular minorities thus it can be deemed discrimination.
They, however, stress that despite "Wilders' outrageous populist actions," there is no discrimination in the Netherlands as a whole and that there are scores of hotlines set by the government and NGOs for people to voice complaints if they ever felt discriminated against. They add that Bulgarians are not subject to discrimination either and are welcomed in Dutch society and valued according to personal qualities and talents.
Regarding the planned protests of Bulgarians in The Hague against the website, those who have signed the declaration say they differentiate from this action, underlining that the Dutch Parliament has nothing to do with Wilders' demagogy and the latter was strongly criticized by local politicians and Members of the Parliament.
According to the authors, the organization planning the rally is not representative of the Bulgarian community in the Netherlands.
"Our reaction will aim at establishing a positive image of emigrants who live and hold honest jobs in the country and at exposing the demagogy, including by means of irony," the declaration reads.
On Monday, the ambassadors of 10 Central and Eastern European countries, Bulgaria included, sent an open letter to political party leaders in the Netherlands protesting against a website.
In response, the European Commission said it cannot police the site and has advised those affected by it to turn to Dutch courts or Strasbourg.
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