Yoruk Bahceli, Reuters, September 10, 2015
Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders called the wave of refugees pushing into Europe an “Islamic invasion”, during a parliamentary debate on Thursday that exposed deep divisions over how the Netherlands should respond to the crisis.
In a debate a day after European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker appealed to EU members to share out refugees arriving on the bloc’s fringes, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the EU should help them in camps closer to their country of origin, rather than in Europe.
Wilders, who is outside the government but whose party is the most popular in opinion polls, called the wave of refugees arriving on the EU’s Mediterranean shores and traveling north “an Islamic invasion”.
“Masses of young men in their twenties with beards singing Allahu Akbar across Europe. It’s an invasion that threatens our prosperity, our security, our culture and identity,” he said.
Rutte’s fragile coalition government nearly split in April over asylum policy. The government plans to toughen its stance by cutting off food and shelter after a few weeks for those whose claims for refugee status are turned down.
Roughly 54 percent of Dutch voters are opposed to letting into the country more than the roughly 2,000 refugees previously agreed, a poll showed last week. Under the latest proposals that figure is seen rising to more than 9,000.