Foreign Trade Min. calls for stronger rebuttal against populism

Minister Sigrid Kaag of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation thinks that stronger rebuttal must be made against populism, she said during the Abel Herzberg lecture on Saturday. While she didn't mention populist parties PVV and FvD by name, she strongly referred to them during her call to better protect democracy, AD reports.

"We increasingly notice that parts of society are susceptible to half-truths, manipulation, fake news, that typifies the international order as a 'culture-Marxist-project'." Kaag said. She denounced political parties that want to close prayer houses, because that goes against the values that Kaag believes Dutch society stands for. She drew a comparison with the Wiemar Republic - Germany just after World War I - where democracy was overthrown by increasingly radical parties. Kaag called it unacceptable that "there are more and more voices calling out: gone with European law".

According to the Minister, it is too easy to forget that the European Union is a successful project. "What is not valued can be lost". It's not for no reason that so many migrants risk their lives to come to Europe, she said. Before the EU, Europe was constantly at war, she said. That should not be forgotten. "The violence that tore our continent for centuries, is not so easily restrained", she said. The fact that the EU can be improved, does not mean it must be destroyed, she said.

In her speech, Kaag also said that she is regularly confronted with her Dutch identity as a person married to a Palestinian man. She regularly has to explain that her daughter is really her daughter, just because she looks 'different', Kaag said. "Sometimes, because of my marriage and career, I am treaded as a foreigner in my own country. And then I wonder: who decides that? Who is the Dutch foreign national, and who is not. In the stereotype I often clearly belong, and more painfully, my children too."