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“Our confidence in The Netherlands has been harmed”

“Our confidence in The Netherlands has been harmed”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts

UM-students debate with Eastern-European ambassadors

A few hours after the European Parliament had officially condemned the anti-Eastern-European website of the PVV party as ‘discriminatory and malicious’ and urged Prime Minister Rutte to distance his cabinet from the PVV initiative, 150 UM-students were ready to debate with four Eastern-European ambassadors on labour mobility. The debate took place in the SBE lecture hall.

In February ten ambassadors had sent an open letter to various political parties. Not to raise the temperatures but to express their concerns and to start a discussion. “It was the right thing to do, we got lots of enthusiastic emails”, says Jaroslav Chlebo, ambassador of Slovakia (see photo). “At the same time we understand that the PVV website is a matter of domestic politics, and we don’t want to get mixed up in it. The PVV has the full right to discuss the abuses of our migrants. Admittedly, not everything runs smoothly, but every coin has two sides. What about all the Dutch people who buy land in Slovakia? Is it because of the rising of the sea level? I don’t think so.”

A Polish student gets up, takes the microphone and says: “Apart from the jokes about the Polish food I’ve never faced any problems in the Netherlands. But I wonder what Poland is doing to help its citizens to fit in here?”

“You’re right”, says the First Counsellor of the embassy of Poland. “But people also have the obligation to help themselves. We inform them about their rights and duties, bust most of them are ill-prepared. They’re too optimistic and easygoing. We’re not responsible for their destinies.”

A Dutch student asks what the economic consequences will be for the Netherlands. “The damage is already done”, says Vaidotas Verba, the ambassador of Lithuania. “It’s something which cannot be expressed in absolute figures, but there will be a detrimental effect to your economy. Our confidence in the Netherlands has been harmed.”

 

Maurice Timmermans

The next edition of the UM ambassador’s debate is on the 27th of March, with Israeli and Palestinian representatives

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