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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

EU nations call on Dutch government to condemn far-right website

The website, set up by the far-right Freedom Party, asks people to report central and east Europeans “for general nuisance, pollution and labour market displacement.”

Dutch MP and Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders
Dutch MP and Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders
Image: Dan Balilty/AP/Press Association Images

AMBASSADORS FROM 10 EU countries have asked the Netherlands to repudiate a nationalist party’s website that urges people to lodge complaints about central and eastern Europeans.

The site launched last week by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, which backs the minority government, calls on citizens to report “central and east Europeans … for general nuisance, pollution and labour market displacement.”

An open letter signed by diplomats from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia asked the Dutch to “distance themselves from this deplorable initiative,” which they say is “clearly discriminatory.”

The diplomats said the website would not help solve some of the issues caused by migration of citizens from eastern EU countries. ”Rather, it encourages negative perception of a particular group of EU citizens working in the Netherlands,” the open letter said.

“The statistics clearly show that our fellow citizens contribute significantly to the growth of the Dutch economy and the Dutch budget. The truth also is that our citizens do not take jobs from the Dutch nationals.”

Hungary’s foreign ministry said the 10 diplomats will meet Friday with Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal.

‘Ridiculous’

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding and EU Digital Affairs Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who is Dutch, have criticised the website. In comments posted on Twitter, Kroes mocked the Freedom Party’s initiative.

“Ridiculous to think that denouncing others on a website will make Netherlands or EU a better place,” Kroes said. “What next? Your wife annoys you? Forget Valentine’s Day, log on and denounce her!”

Wilders’ party is the third largest in the Netherlands and agreed to back the minority right-wing coalition government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte in return for concessions such as a crackdown on immigration. In recent months, the Freedom Party has been losing ground in the polls.

Rutte has refused to condemn the website, saying he does not want to react to everything Wilders says and does.

Speaking to reporters in the Dutch Parliament, Wilders brushed off the commotion and said the site had already had more than 41,000 reactions.

“It’s a fantastic website,” Wilders said. “That half of the world, from European Commissioners to ambassadors, is getting involved doesn’t interest me at all.”

The website asks the Dutch whether they have lost jobs as a result of migrants from other countries or if “central and eastern Europeans (are) a nuisance to you? ”We’d love to hear it,” it says.

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