Rutte: Don't make Wilders too big

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No image availableNL Times

Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, does not agree with PvdA leader Diderik Samsom that he is too soft on PVV leader Geert Wilders.

Rutte said in Pauw en Witteman on Monday night that you "make Wilders much too big" if he is publicly denounced and reprimanded for making controversial comments.

Wilders last week said on the campaign trail in The Hague that there should be "fewer Moroccans" in the city. Despite public outrage, Wilders said that he was just stating an opinion and that he stands behind it. 

Samsom said that Rutte should crack down a bit harder on Wilders when he outs such feelings.

The Prime Minister doesn't feel it incumbent upon himself to react every time Wilders "makes an idiotic remark."  According to him, most people get that Wilders isn't much of a help to them.

The PvdA has taken a lot of distance from Wilders' comment, because as Rutte thinks, too much discussion on this threatens to blur the vision on "real problems", mainly that many Moroccans exist in "wrong statistics" about criminality and school drop-outs. "We must not lump groups together, but solve problems", Rutte said.

Unlike Samsom, Rutte doesn't want to exclude the PVV from possible future cooperation. "The VVD doesn't exclude anybody." Rutte did say that he "isn't on tenterhooks" to work together with Wilders.

The Prime Minister and VVD leader defended his party's decision not to take part in the fraction leaders' debate at EenVandaag on Monday evening. According to him, it was "very much about national politics" in stead of about municipal councils. "It's very good not to always take part. People can't see the forest for the trees anymore."