Geert Wilders has given the Dutch political elites heartburn by (among many other things) making plans to visit Ground Zero on 9-11 and speak out against the Cordoba Initiative mosque. Our Flemish correspondent VH has compiled a series of translations of the latest news from the Dutch-language media. He includes this introductory note:
Geert Wilders’ upcoming trip to New York, which has already made the Dutch “68 elite” very nervous. Strangely enough, they don’t fear the response to having co-financed the organization that is behind the mosque plans.
First, from Elsevier:
Geert Wilders: Let the Foreign Ministry figure it out for themselves
by Jeroen Langelaar
It makes little difference tohe PVV leader Geert Wilders what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tells diplomats about the role of the Party for Freedom in the government. “I decide for myself what I do,” Wilders says. Tuesday the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad said that Dutch diplomats abroad are being ordered to speak soothingly over the possible participation of the PVV in a coalition government [see article and memo below].
“Currently there is no prospect for the participation of the PVV in the forthcoming government,” Maxime Verhagen (CDA, Foreign Affairs) is said to have written in a memo. The Ministry denied this report. Wilders shrugs concerning the issue. According to the PVVer: “Let the Foreign Ministry figure out for themselves what they say to their diplomats. I decide for myself what I do and what my input will be. And everyone knows what the role of the PVV is.”
The PVV leader made known yesterday that he has already purchased a ticket for his trip to New York, where he will act against the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. Wilders told elsevier.nl this Saturday that he will not let anything or anyone stop him: “Of course I will go to New York and say what I want there.” He reiterated his stance this Wednesday: “Nobody will stop me. No mosque at Ground Zero!”
Also from Elsevier:
‘Instructions to diplomats concerning PVV participation in the government’
by Maartje Willems
Dutch diplomats abroad have been instructed on how to respond if there are questions raised about the participation by Geert Wilders’ PVV in the minority government of CDA and VVD.
– – – – – – – – –
When the thirteen-story Islamic center is actually built near Ground Zero, Greg Gutfeld, a reporter from the American news channel Fox News, plans to open a gay bar next door. He wants to open “a dialogue” with it. This is reported by the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry denies this, but would neither confirm nor deny whether a document on the NRC Handelsblad website containing questions and answers about the participation of Wilders in the formation of a government is indeed an internal communication. “The department does not release information on internal documents and internal affairs,” the spokesman said. On Tuesday the newspaper published a piece with six questions and answers [see below: memo text added].
It explains the precise role of PVV leader Geert Wilders in the negotiation of a minority coalition of CDA and VVD. It emphasizes that today the participation of the Party for Freedom in a new Cabinet is not at issue. CDA [Christian Democrats] fraction leader Maxime Verhagen is negotiating a coalition and has also resigned as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In NRC Handelsblad the diplomat Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (the former Secretary General of NATO) discouraged Wilders from going to New York to protest against the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. He thinks the protest is not in the interest of the Netherlands. “Abroad it is not always distinguished who is in government and who sits in parliament.” Yesterday CDA parliamentary leader Maxime Verhagen also warned Wilders about his trip.
De Hoop Scheffer said, however, that he is in “strictly personal” agreement with Wilders’ protest, out of respect for the victims of the attacks of September 11.
Note: That the PVV is present at all negotiations between CDA and VVD to a government is not mentioned (Photo: Wilders at the negotiation table).
From NRC Handelsblad:
Text of the internal memo [pdf]
“Public Diplomacy government-negotiations for foreign partners”
Q: Why is an anti-Islam party receiving some much support in the Netherlands?
- The Freedom Party (PVV) won 24 of the 150 seats in the elections to the House of Representatives. Of those who voted on 9 June 2010, 15, 5% voted for the PVV.
- This is an increase of 15 seats in the most recent parliamentary elections relative to the 9 seats it won in 2006.
- It is not the task of the Dutch government to interpret the results of these democratic elections.
Q: How can Geert Wilders participate in the formation of a new Dutch government, given that he is being prosecuted for inciting hatred and discrimination (art. 137d, Criminal Code) and insulting a group of persons (art 137c, Criminal Code)?
- Talks on forming a government are being held between the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the free-market liberal VVD. This is not the first time they have done so in Dutch parliamentary history. At present there is no prospect of the PVV’s participating in the next government.
- Freedom of expression is a universal human right enshrined in the Dutch Constitution. This means that every Dutch person is free to say what he or she thinks within the limits of the law.
- This fundamental right is subject to statutory restrictions: it must not be used for the purposes of defamation or inciting hatred or discrimination. It is up to an independent court to decide whether the law has been broken.
- On 13 January this year, criminal proceedings against Mr. Wilders were instituted at Amsterdam district court on charges of inciting hatred and discrimination and insulting a group of persons. The judgment is expected on 2 November 2010. These proceedings do not restrict Mr. Wilders’ activities as a politician.
Q: Will the PVV be in the next government?
- Governments in the Netherlands always consist of coalitions of parties of different persuasions. The talks on forming a new coalition government are still in progress.
- At the moment, the PVV’s participation in the new government is not under discussion. Talks are being held on forming a government between the Christian Democrats and free market liberal VVD. But these two parties do not have a majority in the House of Representatives.
- That is why there is talk of the PVV giving the new government parliamentary support. This means that the PVV would sign an agreement committing it to support certain policies of a minority government, so that the government could count on a parliamentary majority on those issues.
Q: If the PVV gives the government parliamentary support, what will that mean for the treatment of Muslims in the Netherlands?
- The Dutch constitution guarantees equal treatment for everyone in the Netherlands. Discrimination is prohibited by article 1.
- Fundamental rights such as freedom of religion and belief (article 6). Freedom of expression (article 7) and freedom of education (article 23) are also enshrined in the Dutch Constitution. As far as we know, the next government is not planning to amend the Constitution.
- The Constitution can only be amended if a majority in both houses of the of the Dutch parliament decides to do so. Parliament is then dissolved and fresh elections held, and the new Houses of Representatives and Senate have to pass the amendment by a two-thirds majority.
Q: Will the building of mosques be banned? Will the Koran be banned? Will Islamic schools be banned?
- A ban on building mosques would be contrary to the freedom of religion and belief, which is enshrined in the Dutch Constitution.
- A ban on the Koran would be contrary to several fundamental rights (freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief) which are enshrined in the Dutch Constitution.
- A ban on Islamic schools would be contrary to freedom of education, which is enshrined in the Dutch Constitution (article 23).
- As far as we know the next government does not intend to amend the Constitution. The Constitution can only be amended if a majority in both houses of the Dutch parliament decides to do so. Parliament is then dissolved and fresh elections held, and the new House of Representatives and Senate have to pass the amendment by a two-thirds majority.
Q: Will NL continue to support Turkey’s EU accession prospects? Didn’t Mr. Wilders call the Turkish prime minister ‘crazy’?
- The Dutch government has said that Turkey can join the European Union if it meets all the relevant criteria. On this question NL is strict but fair. Turkey itself will have to carry out the necessary reforms if it wants to follow the long road to EU membership.
- It is up to the next government to decide whether to continue that policy.
From Spits Nieuws:
Verhagen warns Wilders
CDA leader Maxime Verhagen warns Geert Wilders to mind his words when he demonstrates on September 11 in New York against the construction of a huge mosque right next to Ground Zero. The PVV leader has been invited by the organization Stop Islamization of America to give a speech.
“I expect that everyone is well aware of the consequences of words and deeds,” Verhagen said before he entered the Senate for the first round of negotiations to a minority government, with support from the PVV.
Wilders has been much criticized within the CDA for his plan to go and protest in New York. The CDA senator Hans Hillen said Saturday that it would be “risky” for the Netherlands. “If he wants to join with the big boys, he must also adhere to the rules of the big boys, and keep the national interest in mind”. Hans Hillen fears damage to Dutch businesses.