Friday, 28 March 2014 - 17:13
Rutte: Gov't will not work with PVV
At his weekly press conference, Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) continued his criticism of PVV leader Geert Wilders over Wilders' calls to reduce the Moroccan population in the Hague. Rutte told reporters that, "A boundary has been crossed," and the government will not cooperate with the PVV unless Wilders apologizes for his remarks. Wilders has thus far refused to show any remorse for his comments despite broad criticism for statements that have been reported as racially discriminatory by thousands of residents. "In this way, the grounds for cooperation have crumbled," Rutte told reporters, pointing out that Wilders has marginalized an entire segment of the Dutch populace. Rutte said he had not phoned Wilders about the questionable remarks, saying instead, "I think [my criticism] is quite clear to Geert Wilders." The Prime Minister also said that if Wilders had made these comments during the First Rutte Cabinet it would have caused that government's collapse. Rutte presided over a VVD-CDA coalition government supported by the PVV from October 2010 to November 2012. "It's very theoretical, but I think his statements would be reason to terminate the collaboration," Rutte said. Wilders also criticized Rutte on Thursday after the Prime Minister appeared on television show Jeugdjournaal to soothe the fears of Moroccan children concerned that they would be deported after hearing Wilders' rants at a political rally. "I do not want kids to feel threatened," Rutte told the gathered journalists. "They do not have to be afraid of being deported."