Tension in Dutch society is rising again, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende tells the Volkskrant in an interview to be published on Saturday.
He blames the increased tension on the lack of nuance and the tough words used when speaking about Muslims and Antillians, particularly by Geert Wilders and his anti-immigration party PVV.
One of the causes is ‘the discussion about a certain film’, Balkendende tells the paper, referring to Wilders’ short anti-Islam film which has not yet been seen.
Balkendende also takes PVV MP Hero Brinkman to task for saying the Antilles should be sold on the internet. His comments were ‘lacking respect and ill-advised.’
In Saturday’s interview, the prime minister looks back with satisfaction at the first year of his fourth government. ‘With the exception of redundancy law, we have dealt with all the difficult issues,’ he tells the Volkskrant. ‘Perhaps not con amore, but it is the result that counts.’
Earlier on Friday it emerged that Balkenende warned ministers at the end of last year that the cabinet could not cope with another crisis over policy. He was refering to plans to reform redundancy law which had to be abandoned because of divisions within the coalition.
Meanwhile a poll in the AD newspaper shows that 50% of the population disagree with the government’s urban renewal policy, 65% are against the introduction of road pricing and 60% think the Uruzgan mission should not have been continued.
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