Prime minister Mark Rutte has refused to comment on a website set up by the anti-immigration PVV to record complaints about central and eastern Europeans in the Netherlands, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.
Asked to react to the initiative during a Thursday evening debate on the European Union, Rutte said it is not up to him to comment on positions taken by individual political parties.
In addition, the prime minister said he does not feel it concerns him because the minority cabinet does not have an alliance with the PVV in terms of European affairs. The PVV has an alliance with the minority government, which it supports on economic policy in return for tougher immigration rules.
‘We work well together with the PVV, but not on Europe,’ the Telegraaf quoted the prime minister as saying.
D66 parliamentarian Gerard Shouw said the prime minister’s reaction was cowardly. The prime minister should take action against the PVV, he said. In addition, the website could impact on the Netherlands abroad.
The European Commission is planning to make a statement about the website on Monday, news agency ANP reported.
Earlier on Thursday, employers’ chief Bernard Wientjes urged the cabinet to distance itself from the initiative.
The website is ‘a form of demonisation’, Wientjes told a news conference. ‘This contributes to a fear of foreigners, which is not what we should have in this open country,’ Nos television quoted Wientjes as saying.
The website, launched on Wednesday, asks people to report complaints about central and eastern European immigrants in the Netherlands.
‘Do you have problems with people from central and eastern Europe? Have you lost your job to a Pole, Bulgarian, Romanian or other eastern European? We want to know,’ the website states.
The Romanian and Polish authorities have also called on the Dutch authorities to take action against the site.
The Polish Trade Union in the Netherlands has set up a petition calling for the website to be taken down. ‘Such a website has no other use other than to create a climate of distrust towards Poles and other citizens of Central and Eastern Europe living in the Netherlands,’ the union states.
Should the prime minister take a stand on the PVV website? Take part in our poll.
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