European Union is in the middle of a bitter spat. A two-day EU summit meeting in Brussels ended with a scandal on Friday. Poland's Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo refused to sign the final summit document. Out of the 28 EU members only she voted against it. The reason is simple — she hates her fellow countryman, Donald Tusk who is President of the European Council. In Poland, they represent opposing parties. Their relationship resembles one between a cat and a dog. This infighting has affected the entire EU. Germany's Angela Merkel and Luxembourg's Xavier Bettel have tried to calm Beata Szydlo down during the summit. But Pani remained adamant. French President Hollande threatened Poland, and hinted on reduction in subsidies. «You have principles, we have structural funds», said Hollande. It didn't help, the Polish lady wouldn't surrender. EU is also threatened by another Iron Lady.
According to The Sunday Times, GB's Prime Minister will want his investment money back, once the country exits the EU. That would be 10 billion euros, which is quite significant. Until now, Brussels thought that London must pay the penalty to the EU. Thames brought a counter-claim. We'll keep you posted.
Obviously, all of this is making the EU nervous. But an even bigger headache are the upcoming elections in key countries, such as Germany and France, though they're still far ahead. The first issue on the table is concerning the Netherlands. According to polls, their leader radical Right-wing «Party for Freedom», headed by Geert Wilders. His program includes banning the Koran, shutting down all mosques in Holland, banning immigration from all Muslim countries and exiting the EU. «Party for Freedom» is counting on 15-20% of votes. That's not enough to win, but enough to have an impact. Dutch PM, Mark Rutte whose party is in 2nd place announced in January that immigrants can either adapt and behave themselves, or leave the country. Next, Netherlands' pre-election squabbles, by Daria Grigorova.
The Mevlana Mosque on Mevlana Square. Those who don't know, can't even imagine that this is the center of Rotterdam. Turkish Mosque is a recognized city symbol. City residents even chose it as the most beautiful building in the city. It makes sense, considering the official statistics.
Most of immigrants from Turkey live in Rotterdam. But the official statistics are nominal here. It shows the number of Turkish immigrants to be 395,000. According to the same data, over 700,000 people speak Turkish here. That's almost twice as many. But something else shows the impact even better. A MFA of Turkey was planning to visit Rotterdam to agitate his fellow citizens to vote for switch to presidential republic during the April referendum. That hit a nerve of Netherlands' authorities. These voters are not just Turkish, they're also Dutch. Minister Cavusoglu's plane wasn't allowed to land. The West has shown its true face. These are vestiges of fascism. If you're willing to sacrifice Turkey for your election, you'll pay for it. Europe is sinking into racism. It's insane. I understand they're angry, but this is over the top for sure. Dutch people barely got a hold of another delegation member — the Minister of Family Affairs. She was escorted by the Dutch police back to Germany, where she came from. And this is how the Turkish greeted their Minister in the Cologne airport. Dutch police wouldn't allow the Turks to behave this way in Rotterdam. An almost-meeting was dispersed by water-jets. They didn't fight back. If the conflict has already become international, is everything alright within the Kingdom? This is closed. That's also closed. Those don't work either. Do you think they'll ever reopen? No. Center of Oude-Pekela. Right in front of the town hall. Seems like the perfect spot for an active market. But almost no stores are left in Pekela due to lack of shoppers.
Yan Vesterhaus was born and lived here for 63 years. He still works as a garbageman, 5 more years to go until retirement. Dutch retirement age is 67. Yan used to work as a machine operator at one of the plywood factories. Now all the factories shut down, because Chinese plywood is cheaper. People started leaving. And then there was the refugee center. People from the refugee center come with their hands out and they get money right away. I'm an old man and I still have to work, I have no pension. And they get a 1,000 euros for nothing. And that's a minimum. For just 7,000 residents, there are already over 500 refugees in town.
Oude-Pekela's story, as the poorest town in Holland, is a great example of Geert Wilders' thesis. He promises to no longer accept refugees, exit EU, return the guilder, and even more, shut down all mosques and ban Koran. Due to such statements, he's been under constant security protection for the past 12 years. He sleeps in different towns and only sees his wife once a week, all because of a constant assassination danger. Since Wilders rarely appears in public, each of his appearances is turned into a show. He is always accompanied by several police squads and his personal security team. His last days off before the election are spent in Limburg, his hometown. He gives out fliers to people with the company's slogan «Get Netherlands back.» It's no accident that it sounds like Trump's «make America great again.» There are clear similarities between the programs and the leaders' images. Though Wilders blond hair is the result of years of hydrogen peroxide.
The politician himself is a descendant of Indonesian immigrants. Dutch election is the first in the western world since Trump became president. The Gulf Stream brings pro-Trump vibes to Holland across the Atlantic, along with anti-Russian vibes. For instance, the Dutch refused to use digital software to count votes. They're trying to save themselves from the mythical Russian hackers. Do you believe that some Russian hackers will interfere with election? Are you afraid? I hope not. That can't be possible. But hackers are hackers and Russians are Russians. I don't think they can affect our election. I hope our government has enough power to control the situation.
Just last November, Wilders promised to maintain economical relations with Russia in his interview. They do exist. Before the sanctions, Netherlands were 2nd for Russia's export. But this spring, he's singing a different tune. You've said you'd try to keep the relations with Russia. What relations? What are you talking about? Economical. This may stabilize Holland's financial independence. We can have economic relations with any country. But my party has never had nor will it have any relations with Russia. Though Wilders' economic policy raises questions, his immigration policy is loud and clear. He is «pro» traditional values and against Islam and foreigners in general, but… Tulip is the traditional flower here, can't be more Dutch than this. But it turns out even this flower is an immigrant. It came to Holland in XVI century from Ottoman Empire, where the Turkish saw it as a symbol of Allah's love. Looks like Islam, immigration and traditional values are all in a Dutch tulip's bulb. Sounds like immigration is one of Holland's oldest traditions. Old European nation has accepted those running from the inquisition. It accepted both Protestants and Jews.
By mid XX century, Holland experienced shortage of labor due to rapid economic growth. Turkey, on the other hand, had high levels of unemployment. Sending Turkish workers to Netherlands was a mutually beneficial decision. As long as I've lived here and not just me, everybody. We'll never become Dutch. Khabib did not want to give his last name. He came to Netherlands from Afghanistan. He ran away from the Taliban. But even here, in the heart of Europe, there are radical Islamists, even though they grew up here, in western civilization. Looks like integration went wrong. They even grade us so that we cannot get accepted to colleges. They want to make sure in advance that immigrants won't get their spots.
The Hague's Schilderswijk region, only 2 km from the Dutch Parliament. Recruiters for ISIS have been arrested at the local market on several occasions. The name of a possible Prime Minister Geert Wilders is well known around here. I think a small war is coming here. If they begin to do everything they say they will. But they shouldn't go as far as deporting foreigners. Where am I supposed to go, for example? My Mom's from Suriname, Dad's from the Caribbean. I grew up here. Where will I go? I support everything Wilders says about immigration. Officially, the Dutch will vote for Parliament next Wednesday. The results will determine who will become the next Prime Minister. But voters have to answer a more difficult question. What unites them as the Dutch people?