Saturday

25th Nov 2017

Dutch PM tells people to 'act normal, or go away'

  • Dutch PM Rutte is hoping to secure an election win on 15 March but is facing stiff resistance from Geert Wilders (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

The prime minister of the Netherlands has asked people to respect Dutch values or to leave the country.

In an open letter published on Tuesday (23 January) in major Dutch newspapers, Mark Rutte said that residents and citizens should "act normal, or go away."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

He said, in comments aimed at Muslims, that Dutch society had been made uncomfortable by attacks against homosexuals and women in short skirts.

"We feel a growing unease when people misuse our freedoms to spoil everything, when they have come to our country for freedom," he said.

Rutte had made similar comments earlier in the week in an interview with Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad. He told the newspaper that people who do not respect Dutch values had the choice to leave.

"If you don’t like it here, leave the country, go away. That’s a choice you have, isn’t it?", he told the paper.

The tough statements are seen as part of a larger strategy to woo voters away from the anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant Freedom party (PVV) ahead of elections on 15 March.

Rutte's liberal VVD party is hoping for a third term in government, but is trailing in polls behind the PVV.

The PVV is led by Geert Wilders, a divisive figure who was convicted by a court last month of insulting and inciting discrimination against Moroccans.

Wilders wants to impose a ban on publication of the Quran and to dismantle the European Union in favour of nation states with hard borders.

Despite his views, he claims that some people from Turkish diaspora and other Muslims support his party.

"A growing amount of Turkish Islamic people vote for my party because they feel enough is enough," he told reporters over the weekend at a far-right rally in Koblenz, Germany.

He said some 100,000 Muslims, or 10 percent of the Muslim population in the Netherlands, were ready to resort to violence to defend Islam.

"That's twice as much as the army of Holland, which is 50,000 people," he said.

Wilders is likely to find it difficult to form a coalition even if he wins the election, however, with Rutte refusing to form a government with the PVV.

Far-right groups pledge allegiance ahead of elections

Far-right leaders Le Pen, Wilders, Petry and others gathered in Koblenz in the hope of gaining political momentum ahead of national elections this year. The event was met with thousands of protestors.

Analysis

EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

MEPs put 'Article 7' against Poland on launch pad

MEPs urged Poland to comply with the EU treaties and to halt the 'reform' of the judiciary that could further undermine the rule of law in the country. Polish PM Beata Szydlo called the vote 'outrageous'.

Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP

Reinhard Buetikofer, who participated in the failed coalition talks, puts the blame squarely on FDP being 'afraid to govern', but hopes "there will be a lot of phone calls" to German politicians on the consequences of the deadlock in Berlin.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition