Immigration minister Gerd Leers put in an ‘ultimately weak performance’ when EU ministers approved the ending of visas for people from Bosnia and Albania, Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV says in Tuesday’s Volkskrant.
Leers, attending his first EU meeting in Brussels, said he had little choice but to vote in favour because the decision had effectively already been taken. ‘Our resistence would have been voted down,’ the paper quoted him as saying.
However, ministers did agree visas could to be reintroduced if large numbers of Bosnians and Albanians move to the Netherlands or other countries, EU news websites said.
Leers said after the meeting it is important to build a dialogue with Europe.
‘The Netherlands must not be seen as a pariah. I am not going to come up with all sorts of extreme proposals which will die a death because we are isolated, he said.
The new minority government’s policy on immigration, which was partly drawn up by the PVV, includes a number of measures which involve changes in EU legislation.
Wilders said Leers should have voted against. ‘The result is very poor; the borders are open, which the Netherlands does not want,’ Wilders said. ‘Nor do I understand what he means by ‘pariah’ and ‘extreme proposals’.