Sunday, 11 March 2012

The sheer undemocratic arrogance apparent in this article is astounding. These Euroclown MEPs think that an elected head of government has to come and explain himself to them. And not even for something he's done, but for something he failed to do. In their view, he has failed to denounce Geert Wilders' website about East Europeans vigorously enough. It apparently doesn't matter that Wilders'a party is not a member of the governing coalition, nor that this is not a government initiative. When private actors challenge the multicult consensus, the full weight of government power must be used to crush them. If anyone is in any doubt that the Soviet monster is being recreated in western Europe, read this article and have your doubts dispelled. Note the biased reporting from Radio Netherlands, too, a kind of Dutch equivalent of the BBC World Service.
The Netherlands will be in the hot seat at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. MEPs want an explanation from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as to why his government has not distanced itself from the website set up by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party which invites complaints about East Europeans in the Netherlands. Mark Rutte, however, is staying home.

RNW's Brussels correspondent Tijn Sadée questions the wisdom of this decision.

“You are the European version of the Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chávez. You don't understand a thing about democracy!” A grilling by the European Parliament is no fun, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discovered.

In front of more than 700 representatives from 27 countries and dozens of TV crews, he was quizzed about a new media act restricting the activities of journalists in Hungary. The parliamentarians found it a troubling development but they did at least respect Orbán for being prepared to enter the lion’s den, aware he would face a hostile audience.

There has been less understanding for the next candidate in the hot seat. Not a newcomer from the former Eastern Bloc but one of the founders of the European Union: the Netherlands. Why on earth does the Dutch government have nothing to say about a site where people who ‘have issues’ with Polish, Romanian or Bulgarian migrant workers can leave complaints?

The European MPs have branded it “hate-mongering and discrimination”. The criticisms have echoed far beyond the borders of Europe too. Despite this, Mark Rutte is not going to come and explain anything. Apparently, he is too busy and it’s not urgent. On 1 March he had a short meeting with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz - and that was it. Rutte told him what he had told his domestic audience: “The website is an initiative of a political party and not my cabinet.”

Despite attempts to trivialise the affair, it continues to get worse. The Dutch prime minister has miscalculated if he thought the European Union would understand the situation in which Geert Wilders’ party 'tolerates' the minority government without being part of the coalition.

Europe is certainly prepared to try and understand it but, even as far away as the remote Romanian countryside, what they do realise is that ‘tolerate’ no longer just refers to the Netherlands' policy on the sale of soft drugs. The Dutch verb tolerate (gedogen) has now become a euphemism for ‘hide behind’.

Following his brief meeting with Rutte, Martin Schulz commented: “In the Netherlands, Mark Rutte can’t survive without Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party. In Europe he says he has nothing to do with Wilders. You can’t maintain that position - that is unacceptable.”

Chilly relations
In Europe Rutte is regarded as lacking in nerve and tact. In the Netherlands he can get away with dismissing the website as a Freedom Party gimmick. But he must realise he also has to play to a European audience which may not appreciate his act. They can’t figure out why he smiles so much or why he doesn’t have the guts to appear before them.

Mark Rutte is missing an important opportunity in Strasbourg. The Netherlands’ relations with Eastern Europe have cooled noticeably. Exports to the region are under threat, according to the Dutch business community. A Hungarian newspaper has already called for a boycott of Heineken beer and a joint project between the port of Rotterdam and the Romanian port of Constanta, worth an estimated two billion euros a year, is under review as a result of Romanian anger about the Freedom Party website.

Tough talk
Meanwhile, Asylum and Immigration Minister Gerd Leers is likewise acting as if the fuss will all blow over. He’s looking for support from his European colleagues for the tightening-up of European immigration policy that Geert Wilders is so keen on.

Dutch GreenLeft MEP Judith Sargentini is unimpressed: “It’s tough talk intended for domestic consumption. In Europe, Leers will have to convince the European Commission and the European Parliament. He doesn’t stand a chance.”

Gerd Leers is not going to be able to drum up much support. He can forget about Poland, Romania and Bulgaria for a start. It’s just one of the problems caused by Rutte’s ‘tolerance’ and those problems are not likely to blow over any time soon.
Source: Radio Netherlands


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