Dutch PM refuses Europe call to disavow far-right website
(THE HAGUE) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte refused Thursday to condemn a website described as "deplorable" by the European Parliament, the work of a far-right party that partners with his government.
Stressing the site was a party initiative and did not reflect any official views, Rutte said his government does not "comment on the measures of political parties".
The European Parliament earlier called on Rutte to condemn and distance himself from the "deplorable" Party for Freedom (PVV) website, which invites citizens to complain about immigrants of east European origin.
"The government has always insisted that the site is the initiative of a political party, the PVV" of extreme right politician Geert Wilders, Rutte wrote in a letter to the Dutch lower house of parliament.
"The site does not reflect the views or the policies of the government with regards to job migration from eastern and central Europe," the document added.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution describing the site as an affront to the fundamental values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The text "urges the Dutch government not to turn a blind eye to the policies" of the PVV, which it said "are in contradiction with fundamental EU values."
The resolution also urges EU leaders to condemn the website and asks Dutch authorities to investigate whether it amounts to an incitement to hatred and discrimination.
The "Report Middle and Eastern Europeans" site (http://www.meldpuntmiddenenoosteuropeanen.nl/), went online last month for Dutch citizens to report "nuisances" caused by immigrants from countries like Poland, Bulgaria and Romania.
The PVV lends parliamentary support to Rutte's minority ruling coalition, but remains outside government.
The party advocates a ban of the burqa and the Koran in its campaign to stop the "Islamisation" of the Netherlands.
"The end of this story is in Mr Rutte's hands now. His non-reaction is unacceptable," said Hannes Swoboda, head of the parliament's Socialist group.
Joseph Daul, head of the parliament's centre-right European People's Party, said: "We expect a more European attitude from the Dutch government."
Text and Picture Copyright 2012 AFP. All other Copyright 2012 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.