Monday

24th Jul 2017

Focus

Dutch extremists in disarray after anti-Moroccan chant

  • Wilders has refused to apologise for his comments (Photo: Roel Wijnants)

Will extreme right parties in Europe finally succeed in forming a group in the European Parliament?

Chances were looking good until last Wednesday (19 March) when Dutch politician Geert Wilders led an anti-Moroccan chant.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in this city?” Wilders, leader of the anti-immigrant PVV party, asked supporters after local elections had finished.

“Fewer! Fewer!," the crowd chanted. “We’ll take care of that,” Wilders replied.

Like other countries in Europe, the Netherlands in recent years has become used to extreme right populism.

But it seems Wilders has gone too far this time. He came under fire, even within his own party. Several members in the parliament and national council have quit the party in protest.

Laurence Stassen, who heads the PVV in the European Parliament, became the latest to do so on Friday (21 March). She will continue as an independent MEP.

Wilders’ comments have had repercussions beyond the Netherlands too. At the weekend he was supposed to attend a party congress of the Vlaams Belang, an extreme right party in Belgium.

But following the controversy and the uprising within his own party, Wilders cancelled his appearance.

Vlaams Belang used to be popular but is now falling in the polls. The party had pinned its hopes on Wilders to reverse the trend ahead of the May EU elections.

Wilders, for his part, has not backed down from his comments. "I have said nothing wrong, I have no regrets, and will apologise for nothing and to nobody,” he said, according to Reuters.

Before last Wednesday’s events the PVV had been leading in opinion polls. Now the party appears to be in crisis.

The big question is what effect all this could have on the EU vote. The PVV could lose popularity because of the controversy. Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, according to polls, is almost certain to have fewer MEPs in the next EU parliament.

This means two important elements of what was supposed to be the extreme-right group – which needs 25 MEPs from seven member states – in the EU parliament are politically injured.

A lot is set to depend on how the far-right National Front performs in local elections in France. The preliminary results of the first round, held Sunday (23 March) show Marine Le Pen’s party made big gains.

How strong the party emerges after the second round of elections – in a week’s time – and how radical Marine Le Pen wants to be – these are two key questions for any future right-wing alliance in the European Parliament.

Autocratic Wilders preaches against 'undemocratic' EU

Geert Wilders, arguably the most famous Dutch politician in Europe, regularly takes the EU to task for being undemocratic. But his own party is not famed for its democratic structures either.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Wallonia's Magnette leaves national politics
  2. Polish president vetoes justice reforms
  3. Turkey arrests protesters, as journalists go to trial
  4. Poll: Only 24% of Germans want 'strong leader'
  5. US envoy: 'hot war' not frozen conflict in Ukraine
  6. BMW denies Dieselgate cartel allegations
  7. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  8. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. German car cartel case may take long time to prove
  2. Stronger EU-Egypt ties must not disregard human rights
  3. Orban vows to defend Poland from EU's 'inquisition'
  4. Greece looking at bond market return
  5. Young people show up in droves to defend Poland's courts
  6. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  7. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  8. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions