Controversy over the use of non-Dutch campaign materials for upcoming local elections continues throughout the Netherlands. Radio Netherlands Worldwide this week published an overview of the debate, sparked by posters and brochures published in Arabic, Turkish and Chinese promoting candidates from several parties. The overview juxtaposes comments from integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan stating that materials go against integration to Dutch society with politicians and university professors who support bilingual materials as an important way to keep non-Dutch speakers informed and involved in their local political process.
Debate continues in Dutch parliament regarding the request by the Freedom Party (PVV) to undertake a study of the impact of non-Western immigrants on the nation’s budget. Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan refused, saying the government does not compile figures on specific groups in society. Van der Laan is accused of making his refusal to name a figure partly a political decision, thus dodging his constitutional obligation to provide information.
But while the government has an obligation to supply information, what preoccupied many MPs in the parliamentary debate was the intention behind the Freedom Party’s request in the light of its anti-Islam and anti-immigrant political agenda. Freedom Party MP Sietse Fritsma would say no more than that “the tax payer has a right to information”.