Dutch PM must distance self from FM's anti-multiculturalism comments, Green leader says

Jesse Klaver
Jesse Klaver. Photo: BoelensLeon / Wikimedia Commons

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver called on Prime Minister Mark Rutte to distance himself from statements Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs made about multiculturalism. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Klaver said he can't understand why Rutte hasn't yet done so, NOS reports.

A month ago it was revealed that Blok said at a closed meeting that  that it is genetically determined that people of different groups can not get along, and called Suriname a failed state. Blok later said he r with these statements, but . He also apologized to Suriname, because Blok "did not take back the inaccuracies he voiced at a closed meeting".

In his letter, Klaver wrote that this issue is not just about Blok. He wants the Prime Minister to emphatically distance himself from "these nonsensical, harmful and hurtful statements". According to Klaver, Blok's words express the implicit message that Dutch people with an immigration background are threatening to society. Klaver emphasized that Rutte is "the Prime Minister of all Dutch people". "If a journalists asks: is there an example of a peaceful multi-ethnic or multicultural society, then it would be nice if the answer was: Certainly. It's a very nice country. Our Netherlands."

On Thursday Blok again said that he regretted his statements. In a response to parliamentary questions from the PvdA, he wrote that the words he used were unfortunate and careless. He acknowledged that he should not have said that different groups of people can't get along. 

Blok since had contact with several colleagues abroad about his statements. He mentioned government members in Suriname, Poland and the Czech Republic. He also spoke with the prime ministers of the of te Netherlands, and contacted "other countries that might have felt offended". 

To give "a complete picture" of his statements, Blok sent a full transcript of the private meeting in The Hague to the Kamer. This transcript shows, among other things, that Blok expects "we will have to deal with President Trump" for over two more years yet. 

The government will have its first meeting after the summer vacation on Friday. 

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