Freedom Party boycotts council receptions

3rd January 2011, Comments 0 comments


Politicians from the populist Freedom Party PVV are boycotting New Year receptions being held by local councils in The Hague and Almere, a town close to Amsterdam. They say the events are a waste of money.

“It’s brazen and absurd to spend 150,000 euros on an event to the honour and glory of the ruling elite,” according to Machiel de Graaf a PVV councillor from The Hague.

His PVV colleague in Almere, Toon van Dijk, says the almost 60,000 euros being spent on the Almere New Year’s reception is “an awful lot of money”, even if 11,000 euros of it is being paid by a local businesses group.

Not elite The Hague council says the reception is in no way an elite gathering. “Every resident of The Hague can put their names down to come,” says a spokesman. “There is, of course, limited capacity: we can’t have more than 2,000 people...”

Alphons Muurlink, Labour leader in Almere says it’s a shame the PVV won’t be coming to the council reception there. “It’s a good tradition to welcome in the New Year and, what’s more important, all people from Almere are invited.”

At the moment, the PVV only has councillors in The Hague and in Almere. The party, which is led by anti-Islam firebrand Geert Wilders, only contested the two constituencies in local elections last March.

Amsterdam Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan decided some time ago to cancel the council New Year’s reception in the capital. He found the cost at 150,000 euros too high to defend during a period of public spending cuts.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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