A letter supporting the EU sent with voter cards prompted the ire of Geert Wilders (PVV) (NL Times graphic; photos by Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, Rik Frehen) - Credit: A letter supporting the EU sent with voter cards prompted the ire of Geert Wilders (PVV) (NL Times graphic; photos by Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, Rik Frehen)
Friday, May 9, 2014 - 08:07
Pro-EU letter sent with voter cards has pols crying foul
The municipality of Sittard-Geleen sent its residents a letter with pro-EU rhetoric along with the voting cards they need to cast their ballots in the upcoming European Parliament elections, causing an outcry amongst anti-Europe politicians including Geert Wilders. One resident, Rik Frehen, took a photo of the letter and placed it on Twitter. The photo was then retweeted by euro-sceptics like Marcel de Graaff (PVV) and Alexander Sassen of Elsloo (Artikel 50), who calls it "masked voting advice." In the letter, mayor Cox (PvdA) writes that "beyond dispute it stands that cooperation on the European level has paid off in the last dozens of years." He also writes: "As resident of a city embattled between two country borders, we experience daily that it is necessary to come to collective agreements." Geert Wilders (PVV) reportedly finds this letter unacceptable, and has asked for Parliament question time. He says that the municipality "is trying to influence the voting behavior of its citizens by sending round pro-EU voting advice." He wants minister Plasterk of Internal Affairs to request that mayor Cox send out a new letter in which he steps back from his words. The municipality of Sittard-Geleen does not see any wrong, however, as the city routinely sends pre-election letters out to the people to drive up voter turnout, which has worked in the past, a spokesperson says. The mayor notes that he only wanted to shed a light on the issues that are important for the city in the letter, and the region of South-Limburg. "Borders are very visible for us, and we must all make sure that those borders do not become a negative position for us" mayor Cox said in the Radio 1 Journaal.