(Bloomberg) -- Outgoing Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag slammed the far-right policies of election winner Geert Wilders and warned against their consequences on corporations.
Any indication that it will be harder to hire expatriates or whether the people of color still feel welcome in the Netherlands are factors that will weigh on the decision-making of companies after Wilders’ “unexpected” election victory, Kaag told Bloomberg TV in an interview on Monday.
Wilders delivered a shock election victory on Nov. 22, picking up 37 seats — more than any polls had predicted. He is trying to forge alliances with center-right rivals to achieve a 76-seat majority in parliament.
Kaag said she doesn’t know whether Wilders will be able to implement some of his pledges, such as exiting the Paris climate accord, dismantling green funds or holding a referendum on leaving the European Union.
It is “upon us as moderates, be they from left wing or right-wing parties, to really project what is the direction of travel and also what is reasonable,” the outgoing minister said.
Read More: Who’s Geert Wilders, the Far-Right Would-Be Dutch PM?: QuickTake
Wilders’ pledges that drew backlash from socially progressive politicians include ending aid to Ukraine, a massive reduction in immigration, a ban of the Koran and shutting down mosques. But in his election-night speech, he said he’s willing to compromise in order to secure a coalition agreement, so it’s not clear how many of these policies he would seek to implement.
Although Wilders’ chances of successfully campaigning for a referendum on Dutch membership of the EU appear to be low since other mainstream parties are unlikely to support such a move, his premiership would elevate a euro-skeptic into the heart of one of the union’s stalwart members.
Regarding Wilders’ international cooperation agenda, “it’s a big tally,” Kaag said. “How realistic is it? I don’t know, it depends on the other parties he is willing to negotiate with.”
Kaag said her centrist D66 party has been very clear it will never join a government that’s led by Wilders because of his “agenda of hate, discrimination, demonization of political opponents.” She added, “More broadly, we consider many of these aspects basically running against our constitution.”
--With assistance from Dani Burger and Manus Cranny.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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