Eastern EU Nations Condemn Far-right Dutch Website


Salon Staff
February 14, 2012 10:36PM (UTC)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Ambassadors from 10 EU countries on Tuesday asked the Netherlands to repudiate a nationalist party's website that urges people to lodge complaints about central and eastern Europeans.

The site launched last week by Geert Wilders' Freedom Party, which backs the minority government, calls on citizens to report "central and east Europeans ... for general nuisance, pollution and labor market displacement."

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An open letter signed by diplomats from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia asked the Dutch to "distance themselves from this deplorable initiative," which they say is "clearly discriminatory."

The diplomats said the website would not help solve some of the issues caused by migration of citizens from eastern EU countries.

"Rather, it encourages negative perception of a particular group of EU citizens working in the Netherlands," the open letter said. "The statistics clearly show that our fellow citizens contribute significantly to the growth of the Dutch economy and the Dutch budget. The truth also is that our citizens do not take jobs from the Dutch nationals."

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding and EU Digital Affairs Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who is Dutch, have criticized the website.

In comments posted on Twitter, Kroes mocked the Freedom Party's initiative.

"Ridiculous to think that denouncing others on a website will make Netherlands or EU a better place," Kroes said. "What next? Your wife annoys you? Forget Valentine's Day, log on and denounce her!"

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Wilders' party is the third largest in the Netherlands and agreed to back the minority right-wing coalition government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte in return for concessions such as a crackdown on immigration. In recent months, the Freedom Party has been losing ground in the polls.

The website asks the Dutch whether they have lost jobs as a result of migrants from other countries or if "central and eastern Europeans (are) a nuisance to you?

"We'd love to hear it," it says.

___

Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.


Salon Staff

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