European anger at Rutte boils over – What the papers say

European anger at prime minister Mark Rutte’s refusal to condemn the PVV initiated website to register complaints about central and eastern Europeans boiled over in a heated debate on Tuesday.

Trouw writes that the prime minister has underestimated the strength of European feeling about the PVV website.
Whereas the prime minister’s silence is accepted at home on the grounds that he is not responsible for a party that is not part of the government, the Europeans fail to make the distinction, the paper writes. ‘If this is not a formal marriage then at least the partners are living together. They are sharing the same bed’, the paper quotes Austrian Euro parliamentarian Hannes Swoboda.
The preliminary text of the resolution, which is expected to gain an overwhelming majority on Thursday, says ‘the Dutch contribution to a policy of European integration has been getting significantly smaller over the years’ and accuses the government of openly inciting discrimination of eastern and central European workers.
It urges the prime minister to distance himself from the site. Rutte is free to ignore the resolution: a resolution does not constitute an order. But non-compliance could do serious damage to the reputation of the Dutch, Trouw writes.
Illustrious leader category
The Volkskrant quotes GroenLinks Euro MP Marije Cornelissen who said the European motion would put Rutte ‘in the same illustrious leader category as Berlusconi and Orbán’. Euro MPs from eastern and central European countries emphasised the economic contribution their countries are making to the Dutch economy and warned that the Second World War with all its horrors started out by creating divisions between groups of people too, the paper writes.
Dark side
Elsevier’s Brussels correspondent Carla Joosten writes that the European parliament is obviously not bothered about such details such as the fact that the website was not a government initiative, and that discrimination has to proved in a court of law. ‘The real problems – the dark side of labour migration – are being swept under the carpet’, Joosten writes.
The Schengen restrictions the Netherlands is advocating – the Netherlands is blocking the entry of Rumania and Bulgaria to the Schengen accord because corruption and organised crime are not dealt with effectively enough- are a case in point, she says.
‘Opponents are saying organised crime and corruption were never part of the conditions for entry. Bulgaria and Rumania have their border control in order so there is not a problem. That the border police is corrupt doesn’t matter. It’s the European ideal that matters, not how things really are.
‘A website which should have been left to wither and die in obscurity gets all the attention while the real problems of a Europe without borders are left out of the discussion’, Joosten concludes.

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