Dutch PM All But Defends Xenophobia

Bulgaria in EU | March 16, 2012, Friday // 11:16|  views

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives at the European Council Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 02 March 2012. EPA/BGNES

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has once again refused to condemn far-right PVV party's xenophobic website that triggered much criticism over the recent weeks.

Pointing out that the website in question is the brainchild of a single political party and does not represent the country's official stance on immigration, the Prime Minister has reminded that it was set up by a political party, which just as a private person in the Netherlands, has a great deal of freedom to express opinions.

"This freedom is limited only by the law. Whether the limits have been exceeded is up to the courts," Rutte and Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal stated in a letter to parliament.

Rutte was not present at the European Parliament debate on Thursday even though he had been invited. His spokesman said he had a "busy agenda". Rutte nevertheless wrote to the Lower House his goal is to have "good relations" with the European Parliament, NIS News informs.

In a resolution a passed by a show of hands on Thursday, MEPs said the Dutch authorities should investigate whether the invitation to post complaints about Central and Eastern Europeans living in the Netherlands is an incitement to hatred and discrimination, and that EU government leaders should formally condemn it as undermining the rights of EU workers.

The Parliament specifically urged Rutte, to condemn and distance himself from this "deplorable" initiative. The Dutch government should not turn a blind eye to PVV policies that contradict basic EU values, MEPs declared.

The resolution says that the Dutch government's commitment to European integration has significantly decreased in recent years, as shown by its position on issues such as enlarging the Schengen area and the free movement of workers.

The European Parliament has called on the European Commission and the Council to do their utmost to stop the spread of xenophobic attitudes like those expressed on this website and to ensure that the EU Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia is properly enforced in all EU countries.

The site, titled "Complaints about Central and Eastern Europeans," boasts slogans such as "Do you have problems with people from Central and Eastern Europe?" and "Have you lost your job because of a Pole, a Bulgarian, a Romanian? We want to know." It also displays media headlines reporting how Eastern Europeans commit more and more crime.

The PVV party's website has drawn wide criticism from Central and Eastern Europeans, including Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry and the country's MEPs.

The current minority coalition government in the Netherlands depends upon PVV's support.

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Tags: xenophobic website, Dutch, the Netherlands, Council of Europe, European parliament, MEPs, Geert Wilders, Freedom Party, PVV, Mark Rutte


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