The anti-immigration PVV came under attack in Thursday night’s European election television debate for its links with France’s far-right Front National.
The party’s founder and current MEP Jean Le Pen has several convictions for racism and has described the Holocaust as an ‘historical detail’. The PVV is hoping to form an alliance in the European parliament with the Front National and other far-right parties after the vote.
Marcel de Graaff, who is leading the PVV’s European campaign, defended the relationship. ‘The alliance we are looking for is based on political arguments,’ he said. ‘The Front National is led by Marine Le Pen. She has distanced herself from the words of her father.’
However, both VVD leader Hans van Baalen and D66’s Sophie in ‘t Veld pointed out that Le Pen senior will be an MEP. ‘You cannot say that you have nothing to do with him and then be part of the same grouping,’ In ‘t Veld said.
Van Baalen and De Graaff had a second run-in later in the debate with the PVV candidate accusing the VVD of ‘giving money to Greece and other garlic-eating countries’.
Van Baalen denied the claim, saying no money has been given away. He accused the PVV of lying and making threats.
During the debate, In ‘t Veld also called for the EU to be given direct tax raising powers to replace the current system of country-based contributions. This, she said, would improve democracy.
‘At the moment budgets are worked out for seven years behind closed doors,’ she said. ‘In a democracy, parliament has democratic control over those with power.’
The European elections take place in the Netherlands on May 22. The PVV currently has four MEPs. The Netherlands currently has 25 representatives in Brussels but this will rise to 26.