Geert Wilders sees European elections chance

 

Geert Wilders on bringing down the EU

It is easy to forget sitting in an elegant meeting room in the Dutch parliament that, to many people, Geert Wilders is an outcast, a politician beyond the mainstream. And then there are the reminders.

For reasons of security, the curtains have to be closed during the interview and Mr Wilders recounts how a magazine has placed him in fourth position on an al-Qaeda hit list. It is to underline that he has been more outspoken about Islam that almost any other European politician.

But Geert Wilders senses this is his moment, that the next six months may deliver his best chance to become a European player and not just an agitator. All his energies are focused on the European elections in May. For the forthcoming campaign he has already announced an anti-establishment alliance with Marine Le Pen's National Front in France. Both leaders are currently ahead in many polls. Their dream is that European voters, seething with discontent, will deliver a massive protest vote against Brussels and the political establishment.

Start Quote

I would like the Netherlands to leave the European Union”

End Quote Geert Wilders

I asked Geert Wilders whether he wanted to bring down the European Union. "Yes, as a matter of fact I do," he replied, "in a way that I would like the Netherlands to leave the European Union."

Geert Wilders, who leads the Dutch Freedom Party and Marine Le Pen, head of the French National Front, recently launched what they called an "historic alliance" for the European Parliament elections in 2014

He believes that democracy can only exist in a nation state and Europe is not a nation state so he wants to bring down Europe and restore the nation state and democracy. So he finds himself campaigning for a parliament that he wishes to undermine. He takes issue with my word "undermine" as being too negative but concedes he wants nothing to do with institutions like the European Commission. He does not want to reform the EU but to replace it with nation states set free from the shackles of Brussels.

So why should people vote for him? I ask. "To fight against the European monster," he says, which, in his view, "only wants more power". His hope is that his alliance will become one of the biggest parties in Europe next May and that this will signal a new reality in European politics. It would be very surprising, however, if these anti-establishment parties got more than 30% of the votes in the European elections and there are many divisions between them.

I point out to Mr Wilders that Nigel Farage, the leading eurosceptic in the UK, has shunned his new alliance. He expresses his respect for Mr Farage and hopes that after the elections things will change. I point out it is because the UKIP leader thinks his party might be extreme. He answers that he has been ahead in the Dutch polls for over half a year and that the Netherlands is a tolerant country, so it follows that he cannot be extreme.

'Stay home'

At the centre of his campaign will be immigration. His message to those Bulgarians and Romanians planning to take advantage of the freedom to travel and work anywhere in the EU after 1 January is to "stay home". He thinks it crazy that when his country has more than 700,000 unemployed, outsiders are being invited in to work.

Start Quote

I believe there is no place for Islam in our continent”

End Quote Geert Wilders

The day before I visited Mr Wilders he had proposed a resolution that the government should not allow workers from Romania and Bulgaria to enter the Netherlands from 1 January. Some 80% of the MPs in the Lower House had voted against the resolution but he maintained that polls showed that 80% of the Dutch electorate wanted the restrictions to continue. He dismissed UK Prime Minister David Cameron's moves as "too little too late". "People will come anyway," he said. He wants them to be prevented from working whilst there is an economic crisis. If, in the months ahead, many people do migrate from Bulgaria and Romania, this may prove his strongest card at the polls.

Geert Wilders is a conviction politician. He says he will continue to say what he believes to be right and he will never break. He repeats his criticism of Islam. Yes, he says, the majority of Muslims in the UK and the Netherlands are "law-abiding people whose concern is to have a good life, a good education for their children and a good job and I have nothing against them" but "yes, I believe Islam is a fascist ideology... and yes I believe there is no place for Islam in our continent".

I say that many people would say his comments could stoke up tensions between communities. "I'm staying away from anything," he says "that has to do with stirring up anything."

His critics denounce him as a xenophobe and a nationalist. He replies that he is a patriot. In the past he has proved a magnet for the discontented. At the last election in the Netherlands, however, he fared poorly. This time round he is calculating that a sluggish economy, resentment at bailing out other eurozone countries and disillusionment with the European project will turn voters his way. In the months ahead, European officials will denounce him as a wrecker, a politician who is bent on tearing up more than 50 years of European achievements. Political leaders in Europe are gearing up to raise the stakes in these elections. They will cast them as about the future of the continent.

 
Gavin Hewitt, Europe editor Article written by Gavin Hewitt Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

Comments

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  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 275.

    Sally the Rothbardian @ 259
    "You have no "right to cultural protection""

    So you don't agree that Moslems should be given legally permitted rights to demand time off work to pray and wear certain items of clothing?

    And schools, doctor surgeries, and other communial offices having to provide interpreters?

  • Comment number 274.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 273.

    268@

    But it asserts that right under threat of death '' Fatwah '' even if valid or right ! that's a pretty strong protection isn't it.
    Of course it has worked on politicians and the media who long ago said they would not comment or report certain issue due to fear of unrest ! some people believe that rights don't have to be given they can be taken. which sadly we are not protected against

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 272.

    We could really use an open public discussion about the threat to white survival of "diversity".

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 271.

    Oaktree: The Islamic Ottoman Turks were more tolerant than modern Greeks

    'every Christian community was required to give one son in five to be raised as a Muslim and enrolled in the corps of Janissaries'

    'No Greek's word could stand against a Turk's in a law court'

    'Heavy burdens of taxation were placed on the Christian population'

    'Selim the Grim attempted to stamp out Christianity'

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 270.

    Now: where were we?

    Ah yes: the Germans are reducing the state pension age to 63. Greek property's down 60%, so people have spending money again...

    Anyone know what Wilders wants to do in this respect?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 269.

    248 Huxley

    "Are three quarters of UK voters "far-right"?"

    Who are you referring to? The number of people who voted for EU membership in the 1975 referendum was 68%. House of Commons voted 396 to 170 to continue within the Common market

    Even after all the adverse publicity in recent times the pros are still in a majority and will easily win the referendum

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 268.

    267.U15713146
    Just because Islam claims a "right", doesn't mean is should be able to, or that that right truly has any validity to its claim. This equally true of you, Geert Wilders, or the UN attempting to assert that a similar right exists to protect you.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 267.

    259@

    Then how come Islam has cultural protection ! you cannot say it hasn't because, all the nicety's of its laws and belief which is, from that age of slinging faeces around the cave. is beyond questioning or reproach if you mention them, you are removed prohibited as a fascist ?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 266.

    #255 EUPris

    "It's all claptrap. There are no achievements"

    --you are counting yourself --a Brit living in Germany

    among the EU failures --I presume ?

    Should I agree with you ?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 265.

    Think we have enough people on here to start a political party. The Extremely Democratic Party perhaps? Just sayin'

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 264.

    White Europeans demand an open public discussion about the threat to white survival of massive immigration and social engineering.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 263.

    236.Bob Smythes

    "A Federal Europe is inevitable."

    Rubbish!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 262.

    238

    Yes most people stayed here and gained nothing! Get over that fact. Doubt it was the vast millions moving now. Did those sent for 'seeding' know what was happening to them and why? America was independent in 1776 and made its own migration policy. The speak English in India and Nigeria but I don't notice vast numbers of white immigrants. Tasmania? Well many millions there I suppose!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 261.

    U15713146 @ 257:

    I've copied your comment 'cos no doubt they'll all be hitting the "Report this Comment' button.

    I'm 'pre-modded' so maybe this wont get through.

    But if it does - that's a very relevant and important point.

    Needs researching and taken to MP surgeries for comment.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 260.

    Tchernobog - "Fascist" is a stock term used by the liberal left when they have lost the argument. The media is full of those people who are, consequently, louder shouters.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 259.

    257.U15713146
    You have no "right to cultural protection", what a ridiculous right. If this right existed since man began, technology would be prohibited and we'd be sheltering from lions and bears and flinging faeces around the cave due to zero sanitation.

    Indeed, you wouldn't even be speaking English, as that culture's language didn't exist during Roman occupation, and earlier.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 258.

    256 Lucy

    "You can stand up for your country or give it away for nothing"

    Hard to understand the mentality of people whose forefathers were after all ALL immigrants and forcefully removed the original inhabitants

    I would have thought you would have more understanding than anyone when poor, disadvantaged people want a better life for themselves and their children

    Your country?

  • rate this
    +50

    Comment number 257.

    just to deflect the accusation of racist . may I ask a reasonable question ? why is it that I born in a small European town in the U.K. now find it is a clone of rural Pakistan with all the trimming to go with it ? the U.N. Charter tells that I have a right to cultural protection. and it is illegal to displace indigenous populations anyone can see or read it its been breached where's my redress !

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 256.

    Marg: Most of the Spanish peninsula was occupied by Islam for centuries

    'After the Reconquista in 1492, Muslims did not live in Spain for centuries'

    'Today 1.7 million inhabitants of Muslim background living in Spain. The vast majority composed of immigrants'

    History is repeating itself

    You can stand up for your country or give it away for nothing

 

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