28 June 2011
In a leaked copy of a speech, Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen addresses Christian Democratic Party members with the message that worries about foreigners are ‘understandable’. Verhagen seeks to distance himself from the increasing populism in the Netherlands yet recognizes what drives it. He notes that “People are concerned about churches being replaced by mosques, about the fact immigrants don’t integrate and the risk that they will take Dutch jobs”, NRC reports.
February 15 2011
Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen has announced that he believes multicultural society has failed. He claims that the Dutch no longer feel at home in the country, and that immigrants are also unhappy, and called for the Dutch to be prouder of their country, as they are in the United States.
September 23 2010
Indonesia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands said in an interview with the Financieele Dagblad that a visit by the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhynono would be thrown into question if the right wing PVV party formed part of the next coalition government. The ambassador also suggested that those who had voted for the right wing Freedom Party (PVV), headed by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, could be ‘psychotic’.
Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen called the ambassador’s words ‘unwise’ and noted that he planned to make contact with him that day. Wilders, who has repeatedly called for a ban on immigration from Islamic countries, called the statements ‘scandalous’.
A planned trip to Turkey by a delegation from the Dutch parliament has been cancelled. The trip was scheduled for January, and intended as a “fact finding mission” in connection with Turkey’s hopes to join the EU.
Last week a representative from the foreign affairs ministry stated that Geert Wilders, leader of the right wing Freedom Party (PVV) would not be welcome in the country. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, was free to refuse to receive the Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders, though the statement did not represent an official position from the Turkish government.
In response to the comment, Dutch MPs voted yesterday to cancel the January trip even though politicians, academics and other interest groups had agreed to meet delegates. “The delegation takes the view it is for parliament to decide who should be in the delegation,” the parliamentary European affairs commission said in a statement.
DutchNews.nl reports that Turkish MPs are disappointed by the cancelled trip. “If a Dutch colleague has preconceptions about our country, the best thing to do is welcome him and change his mind,” Yasar Yakis, chairman of the Turkish parliament’s EU harmonisation committee told the NRC.
Morocco’s Foreign Minister Taleb Fsi Fihri told his Dutch counterpart – Maxime Verhagen – that Rabat does not want to stand in the way of the integration of Moroccans living in the Netherlands. Fihri said that Rabat wants to help the Moroccan integration into Dutch society, and call on called Moroccans living in the Netherlands to aim for full integration. Both FM’s have also signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation on issues of illegal immigration, terrorism, and drug trade.
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Iran’s deputy foreign minister called on the Dutch government to stop a far-right politician from distributing an anti-Islam film. “I think they can stop the movie,” Mehdi Safari told reporters after meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen. “The government is responsible.” However, the Dutch government has tried twice, unsuccessfully, to convince the filmmaker to abandon plans for the film’s release. Safari said that the film would have “far-reaching consequences.” Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands Bozorgmehr Ziaran called Wilders a warmonger, saying that “our conclusion is he wants to demonize Muslims.”