Wednesday

21st Feb 2024

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

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.

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.

Opinion

Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?

Fewer than one-in-ten Ukrainian refugees intend to settle permanently outside Ukraine, according to new research by the associate director of research and the director of gender and economic inclusion at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

Podcast

Podcast: Navalny, Ian Bremmer and "more Europe"

EU headlines, Russia after Navalny, the Munich Security Conference and an interview with Ian Bremmer, author and founder of the Eurasia Group on his main takeaways from the conference.

Latest News

  1. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist
  2. Podcast: Navalny, Ian Bremmer and "more Europe"
  3. Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza
  4. Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?
  5. African leaders unveil continent-wide plan to buy medicines
  6. EU urban-rural divide not bridged by cohesion policy, report finds
  7. Impending Rafah disaster shows up politics of humanitarian aid
  8. Sweden heading into Nato, after Orbán-Kristersson deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us