Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been urged to condemn an anti-immigration website run by the far-right Party for Freedom party. While the party lies outside the ruling coalition, Rutte does rely on it for support.
The Dutch Prime Minister on Thursday was pressed in a resolution by the European Parliament to condemn an anti-immigration website.
Parliamentarians in Strasbourg had adopted a resolution calling upon Dutch premier Mark Rutte "specifically to condemn and distance himself from this 'deplorable' initiative."
The website - set up by the Netherlands' far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) - has been active for the past month and has attracted protests aimed at party leader Geert Wilders. It provides a forum for people in the Netherlands to complain about issues including job losses and crime which they might connect to migrants from central and eastern Europe.
"The Dutch government should not turn a blind eye to PVV policies that contradict basic EU values," a statement from the European Parliament said. The resolution described the site as an affront to fundamental values of human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Rutte: site does not reflect government
The parliamentary head of the conservative European People's Party, Joseph Daul, attacked Rutte for declining an invitation to defend himself before the EU assembly.
"These are important issues, but evidently not important enough in the eyes of the Dutch prime minister to come and debate them with us," he said.
However, while distancing himself from the site on Thursday, Rutte did not condemn it. "The government has always insisted that the site is the initiative of a political party, the PVV," Rutte wrote in a letter to the lower house of parliament.
"The site does not reflect the views or the policies of the government with regards to job migration from eastern and central Europe," the document added.
While the PVV lends support to Rutte's minority coalition, it is not formally a part of it. The party advocates a ban of the burqa and has condemned the Quran as part of a campaign to stop the "Islamization" of the Netherlands.
rc/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)