Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof (C) speaks during the debate on the government statement in the plenary hall of the House of Representatives in the hague, the Netherlands, 03 July 2024. EPA-EFE/ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN


New Dutch PM targets migration while opposition slates Wilders


Dick Schoof, the newly installed Prime Minister of the Netherlands, declared that solving the migration problem was a key issue.

One day after assuming the office, the former top civil servant in the Security Service stressed that his government planned to take the problem seriously.

“We have to listen to the voter,” Schoof said. “The voter said, ‘Listen and do something about it.’

“This task is something this government takes extremely seriously.

“Migration puts too much pressure on social services and social cohesion. Asylum and migration figures are high and so is the pressure on society.

“It is precisely to ensure continued support for hosting genuine refugees that we must do something about this,” he insisted.

Schoof said he wanted to restore the people’s trust in the government.

He further emphasised that the rule of law was pivotal for the new cabinet and that the Netherlands would be a loyal partner in the European Union and in NATO.

Schoof also said he wanted to work on solutions for the Dutch housing crisis, the cost of living crisis and the energy crisis.

He noted that his cabinet wanted to give more power to parliament and said there would be more room for co-operation with other parties.

The opposition did not seem particularly tempted by that offer.

Labour Party MP Frans Timmermans, frontman of the alliance of Greens and Socialists, slammed Geert Wilders, chief of the largest party in the new government, the PVV.

He said Wilders and his party “propagate racist conspiracy theories and dehumanise Muslims and refugees by saying they parasitise and spread disease, an image that was also pasted on Jews in the darkest years of European history”.

The ex-EU commissioner accused Wilders of wanting to pursue the “gloomy politics of settling of scores” that “will divide the Netherlands to the bone”.

A visibly angry Wilders said it was wrong to call his party members racists and said that statements regarding repopulation plans were taken out of context and had since been retracted.

He added he would not let his party “be pushed in a corner”.

“It is not because you have something to say about migration and the demographic effects of it, that you are a racist,” he argued.

“Because then you could push half of the country into that corner, unrightly so.

“It drives me crazy, and it has been happening for years, that when people say something about it, they are labelled as racists. That reaction made us earn 37 seats in parliament.

“I can tell you now, if you continue to do that, if you keep insulting the people, we’ll end up with 57 seats,” Wilders claimed.

“I am now the political leader and will have to give my party a face. A cabinet is bound by compromises, I don’t have to be. Many people will come to regret that I did not become prime minister,” he added.

Wilders said he was not planning to police his members in government and was not going to indicate how his party would behave.