Monday

24th Apr 2017

Dutch far right opens anti-Polish hotline

The Dutch far-right Freedom Party (PVV), a key ally of the centre-right coalition government, on Wednesday (8 February) opened up a website to collect complaints about people from Central and Eastern Europe residing in The Netherlands.

"Did you lose your job to a Pole, a Bulgarian, a Romanian, or any other Central or Eastern European? We would like to hear about it," it says on the website Hotline Central and Eastern Europeans.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Citizens have been fast to mock the initiative, opening up parody websites (Photo: Caysua)

The gradual arrival of cheaper labour from eastern Europe to more protect Western labour markets after EU enlargement in 2004 prompted high-profile scaremongering campaigns in several countries. This was epitomised by the

so-called 'Polish plumber', perceived as taking jobs from native Western Europeans.

The PVV estimates that some 200,000 to 350,000 people from the region currently reside in the Netherlands.

The "massive arrival of Poles in particular", it says, "is the cause of many problems, such as nuisance, pollution, [and] a squeeze on the labour market."

The party, headed by Geert Wilders, hopes to provide an outlet for complaints that otherwise remain unattended, it says. It will then present the results to the country's social affairs minister.

"It can go from 'They're sleeping on my doorstep' to 'They're still barbecuing at night'," Ino van den Besselaar, Dutch MP and PVV social affairs spokesman, specified to public broadcaster NOS.

The Polish embassy in The Hague was fast to express its anger at the initiative, which it qualifies as "discriminatory".

"Such a hotline will foster a wrong image [of Polish people in The Netherlands]," Janusz Wolosz, spokesperson of the embassy, told NOS. "Those who do not have problems with their Polish neighbours will not go to the website."

He said the embassy is looking into the legality of the website, which he says might be in breach of the country's anti-discrimination laws.

For its part, Henk Kamp, Dutch social affairs minister, refused to criticise the initiative, saying that it is up to political parties to do as they see fit.

He did, however, acknowledge the assumption that Eastern Europeans cause problems.

"Certainly, it is a well-known fact," he said. "In some districts of big cities, there are problems of overpopulation, shelter, or crime. But we also know that there are many people from those countries who behave well and work hard."

Citizens have been fast to mock the initiative, opening up parody websites.

The Hotline Limburgers aims to provide a safe haven for those who are annoyed by the presence people from the southern province, who talk funny and "have the right to free movement since 1866".

Dutch rapper Polska, who emigrated when he was three years old and was elected Pole of the Year 2011, set up the Hotline Valuable Cosiness.

"Since 1 January 2007," he says on his website, "the Dutch culture has been enriched by hard working lads who do their stinking best to make something of it."

'Bulgarian trucker' replaces 'Polish plumber' in EU elections

ELECTIONS COUNTDOWN - The French politician who created the stereotype of the "Polish plumber" has coined a new "Bulgarian truck driver" cliche for his EU election campaign. But voters are finding the event a turn-off despite scandals involving topless girls, hunger strikes and the Taliban.

Fear of 'youth drain' from new member states

Some new member states are battling with a 'youth drain' as well-qualified young people leave for jobs in western Europe, but at the same time, the feared influx of workers to old member states has proven to be a myth, according to a new report.

EU unemployment hits record high

Twenty three million people in the EU are struggling to find jobs, as the economic crisis and austerity cuts unfold into severe social consequences.

MEPs unite over Dutch anti-immigrant hotline

MEPs from across the political spectrum have united against an anti-immigrant internet hotline set up by the party of controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Dutch far-right opens new, anti-EU website

In a replay of events earlier this year when it launched an anti-immigrant website, the Dutch far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) have set up a new protest portal - this time against the EU.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

News in Brief

  1. Defeated Fillon retires from French politics
  2. Hollande: Vote Macron to avoid 'risk' for France
  3. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning
  4. Land mine kills OSCE observer in Ukraine
  5. Italy prosecutor claims NGOs are working with migrant smugglers
  6. Danish defence hacked by Russian cyberspies
  7. EU trade commissioner in US to pick up TTIP talks
  8. Juncker to meet Soros on Hungary next week

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. Le Pen-Poutine: des liens qui remontent à loin
  2. Juncker breaks tradition with support for Macron
  3. Les fake news inondent les réseaux sociaux français
  4. Les amis de Le Pen à la Trump Tower
  5. France's election run-off will be far-right versus EU
  6. Alternative for Germany party refuses to shun extreme right
  7. Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK
  8. Russia threat triggers European military spending hike