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Bulgaria abroad

Controversy continues over Wilders’ anti-Eastern European website

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Thu, Feb 16 2012 3215 Views
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Controversy is continuing about a website started by Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party which invites people in the Netherlands to complain about immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe.
The introduction on the website, which the party called the "Central and Eastern European hotline", says: "Are they causing you problems? Or did you lose your job to a Pole, Bulgarian, Romanian or other Central of East European? We would love to hear from you."
The heads of 10 missions in Central and Eastern Europe, including the charge d’affaires of the Bulgarian embassy in The Hague, have voiced their protest against the website.
The open letter was handed to the Dutch prime minister, foreign minister, minister of social affairs and employment and parliamentary leaders of political parties in the country, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Sofia.
In the letter, the EU diplomats urge Netherlands society and its political leaders to distance themselves from the initiative of one particular political party and by so doing, reinforce the image of the Netherlands as an example of freedom and tolerance.

Viviane Reding, the European Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship commissioner, called the site "an open call for intolerance". She went on: "In Europe we support freedom. We solve our problems by showing more solidarity, not by telling tales on fellow citizens."
The site was criticised by European Parliament President Martin Schulz as an affront to universal and EU values.
Employers’ groups have been more seriously irritated by the PVV website, a report by Radio Netherlands said. Many East Europeans do jobs which Dutch people are no longer willing to do, such as in the market gardening industry in the west of the Netherlands. The VNO-NCW employers’ organisation has condemned the PVV site as xenophobic and is calling on the government to make a point of distancing itself from it, the report said.
"The call is lost on conservative VVD prime minister Mark Rutte, however, who says the website is just PVV party business about which he sees no reason to comment," Radio Netherlands said.
It has also recently been shown that workers from Eastern Europe contribute to the Dutch economy; one report claimed Polish workers alone pay more than one billion euro in taxes, the report said.
In addition, the Netherlands looks to Eastern Europe for support on EU decisions. The Netherlands is trying to negotiate a lower net contribution to the EU, and needs support from Eastern Europe to do so, the report said.
Wilders remained defiant, quoted in several media as having told the Associated Press in an interview that critics should "mind their own business".

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  • Dutch website for complaints against Eastern Europeans ‘affront to EU values’, EP President says
  • Bulgaria, Romania lambast Dutch anti-immigration website
  • Dutch court acquits Geert Wilders
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