WRR puts integration debate on edge
25 September 2007
THE HAGUE The Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) has put the discussion on the topic of integration and the council's own position on edge with its report Identification with the Netherlands, the Volkskrant reports.
That can be gathered from the range of reactions to the report; Integration Minister Ella Vogelaar and Democrats D66 leader Alexander Pechtold are enthusiastic about the council's findings for instance. Freedom Party PVV leader Geert Wilders and the Liberal VVD haven't a good word for it. Princess Mxima expressed her support for the WRR in her speech at the presentation of the report.
The WRR says that the Netherlands is taking the wrong approach to ethnic minorities: it does not matter who people are, but what they do and are able to do. Moreover the whole distinction between “allochtoon” (foreign) and “autochtoon” (native) is “counterproductive.” Get rid of those terms, the council says to politicians, scientists and the media.
The Netherlands is on the wrong track with the discussion on relinquishing a second passport, WRR chairman Wim van de Donk says, certainly in an increasingly international context. “Then you might as well close down your business and have a clearance sale,” Van de Donk says.
“The WRR has got it completely wrong for the second time in a short period,” was the response from VVD MP Halbe Zijlstra. A few weeks ago he said the council's recent report on Islamic activism was “woefully poor.”
Zijlstra: “They simply want to continue with that multicultural nonsense. They have missed out on 15 years of developments. The value of continuing the WRR is in question.” Wilders goes even further: “Utopian fools. Get rid of that club.”
Where Wilders is, D66 leader Pechtold is never far behind. “I was very enthusiastic about the previous report and I wholeheartedly agree with the language of this report. I am a big fan of these researchers.” Integration Minister Vogelaar also found Identification with the Netherlands “a thorough and valuable report.”
In the midst of that turmoil Princess Mxima spoke approvingly of the report. It was “good that the WRR has delved into this topic” and “very interesting that the title of the WRR report was not “The Dutch Identity”.” Like the WRR she had criticism for the debate in the Netherlands. “We fall easily into thinking in terms of black and white.”
In turn Freedom party PVV leader Geert Wilders said Princess Mxima's speech at the presentation of a report from the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) on Monday was “well intended politically correct twaddle.”