Dutch employer federation VNO-NCW, a lobby group representing 115,000 firms and 8,500 individual entrepreneurs, has voiced concern over the rise of anti-immigration PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid/Party for Freedom) in opinion polls.
Speaking to a current affairs television show on Sunday, VNO-NCW chair Hans de Boer said the party’s increasing support could damage the Netherlands’ reputation abroad.
"If the Netherlands develops a reputation of wanting little to do with the rest of the world and is afraid of the influence of other cultures, it will be a concern", de Boer told WNL op Zondag.
De Boer’s predecessor Bernard Wientjes also warned about the impact of the PVV and its leader Geert Wilders on Dutch trade interests.
With support for the party rising to a record level, the latest weekly poll by opinion pollster Maurice de Hond says the PVV would win 37 seats in parliament if there was a general election today, giving them around 25% support.
Wilders’ party currently holds 15 out of 150 seats in parliament. De Hond’s poll shows that the PVV is also gaining support outside of their traditional working class base. 14% of people with a college or university degree would vote for the PVV, compared with 5% in July.
According to the poll, based on an online survey of 3,000 people who chose to register, support for other major parties is currently between 11% and 13%.
Edit: Nicola Wood (LinkedIn)