Dutch Parliament: Opposition and coalition fierce statements against Blok ‘this was stupid!’
THE HAGUE - Kingdom Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs is getting a lot of heat in the debate about his controversial statements on multicultural society. "Unworthy of a government official."
Alexander Pechtold of coalition partner D66 not only wants Blok to apologize once more, but he also wants the minister to take his words back. Other MPs also want to know whether Blok really believes that it is not possible for groups to live peacefully together in a multicultural society.
If he really believes in his statements, "he does not fit in this cabinet," Pechtold said. PvdA, SP and DENK wonder whether Blok as minister is still credible, and whether he can properly represent the interests of the Netherlands across the border.
Coalition parties VVD, CDA and ChristenUnie showed themselves to be milder, but they were not uncritical. "Does Minister Blok think a multicultural society is hopeless?" CU leader Gert-Jan Segers asked. "Then the execution of the coalition agreement is a 'mission impossible'."
In the summer, the Minister of Foreign Affairs made controversial statements during a closed meeting. He called Suriname a 'failed state'. And he said that he knows no country where different ethnic groups live together peacefully.
The statements came through Zembla, which led to a lot of commotion. Blok then took back his words at home and abroad. Today it must be made clear whether the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament is satisfied with this.
CDA leader Sybrand Buma also wonders what Blok really thinks. "To say that a multi-ethnic society cannot function, and to relate that to genetically determined issues, makes working on a modern society totally meaningless."
The best was Bloks own VVD. Faction president Klaas Dijkhoff did not go into Blok’s statements at first, but called it 'curious' that someone leaked it, instead of entering into a debate with the minister.
The only explicit statements of support came from the PVV and the Forum for Democracy. Geert Wilders said the call to Blok to take back his words was a 'political castration'. He and Theo Hiddema (FvD) offered Block a membership to their parties. "What is this hype about?" Hiddema asked rhetorically.