The following is a transcript of a three minutes interview with Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom party (Dutch: Partij Voor de Vrijheid, or PVV), by BBC News Europe Editor, Gavin Hewitt: Geert Wilders on bringing down EU. There is a longer article by Mr Hewitt on his blog: Geert Wilders sees European elections chance.
For months now, the PVV is leading in most polls, the national economy is shrinking, unemployment is on the rise and anti-EU sentiments are rife in the Netherlands. Mr. Wilders considers himself the only one capable to salvage the wrecked country, which gives him the prospect of 15-20% of the vote in the upcoming European elections.
Wilders: I believe that we have very few things to benefit from the European Union. I believe that the growing amount of voters feel that they pay a lot of money to the European Union, but that at the end of the day we are not in charge of our own laws, of our own borders, of our own money, of our own budget, and people want to change that.
Hewitt: You say you want to find the monster in Brussels. Do you want to bring down the European Union?
Wilders: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do, in a way that I would like the Netherlands to leave the European Union.
Hewitt: But how realistic is all of this? Do you really expect Europe to go back to a time when controlling their own border, their own economies, their own currencies, I mean, that’s not going to happen, isn’t it?
Wilders: Well, I’m more positive than that. I believe that parties like mine, but also in many other parties would, can become maybe the number one or the number two, or the biggest party in the European elections next May.
Hewitt: Let’s talk about immigration, From January, Bulgarian and Rumanians will be able to travel and to work anywhere within the European Union. What is your message to those countries?
Wilders: Well, my message to those countries is: stay home. I do not say to those people that I do not understand that they wish to come to western Europe. I don’t even blame them. I blame our own governments. People are getting unemployed and at the same time we allow people from Bulgaria and Rumania to come to the Netherlands and take our jobs, take, make use of our social security and I think it is a crazy, really crazy thing to do.
Hewitt: You have said that Islam is not compatible with the western way of life. But haven’t Muslim communities become part of the European way of life?
Wilders: Well, indeed I believe that Islam is an inferior culture. I talk about the ideology and not about the people. I know that a lot of Muslims are law abiding people, who have … whose concern is a good life, a good education for their children and a good job and I have nothing against them.
Hewitt: Do you feel you have a personal responsibility not to stoke up tensions that could, or might lead to an atmosphere that you may find difficult to control?
Wilders: But, I don’t believe I have done anything coming close to that. A responsible politician never stirs up any problems in any society.
Hewitt: There are plenty of people that will say in some of your comments you stoke up tensions between communities.
Wilders: Well, you ask what my intention is. I can only give an honest answer from Geert Wilders, I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else. My answer, my honest answer to you is: no, I am not. I am staying far away from anything that has to do from stirring up anything.