Prime minister should not go to Sochi Olympics, says Labour leader

Labour leader Diederik Samsom would not have sent prime minister Mark Rutte to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, he told current affairs show Nieuwsuur on Sunday.

Samsom, who is not a minister even though Labour is a partner in the coalition government, said if the decision had been up to him, he would have considered sending the king and sports minister to be sufficient.


Gay rights groups and some opposition parties have been highly critical of Rutte’s decision to attend the games along with sports minister Edith Schippers and the king and queen.


Olympic committee


King Willem-Alexander should be part of the delegation as a former member of the International Olympic Committee, Samsom said. Now the prime minister is going, he should ‘do all he can to show where the Netherlands stands’ when it comes to human rights in Russia, Samsom said.


VVD stalwart Neelie Kroes, now a member of the European Commission, also criticised the decision. ‘This is the most heavyweight delegation we could have sent,’ Kroes told television show WNL op Zondag. ‘It could also be a little less.’


The US, Germany, France, Britain and Belgium have said they are not sending either their heads of state or monarchs to the Sochi games.

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