Sputnik: What were the key goals for the PVV during the municipal election in The Netherlands and how important was the election for your party?
Marcel de Graaff: For the PVV the municipal elections are very important to get a local footprint. On a municipal level, decisions are taken that immediately impact citizens like, accepting a huge number of asylum seekers in your city. The local political establishment could decide on these issues without properly listening to the opposing voice of the citizens. We only were present in two municipalities. The PVV decided to expand to 30 municipalities and as a result we are now indeed present in 30 city councils. The first aim of participating in these 30 cities is to give our electorate a voice in the city councils. We knew from the last elections that a significant share of our voters lives in these cities.
Sputnik: PVV's municipal candidates are quite a diverse crowd. Is there a portrait of the average municipal assembly candidate? Who is that person?
Marcel de Graaff: The common denominator of our candidates is their concern for our culture and our national identity. They all share the concerns about the failed experiment of multiculturalism. It created a parallel society within the Netherlands. Our party sees Islam as incompatible with democracy and the values of our Judeo-Christian and humanistic culture. Therefore, we oppose the presence and spread of Islam in the Netherlands.
Sputnik: The Party for Freedom is often criticized for its nationalist stance. How did it resonate with Dutch voters? Do you feel that your country is changing its attitudes when it comes to immigration and assimilation?
Marcel de Graaff: We have been very critical towards Islam since the establishment of the party in 2006 and we now see that our political positions are more and more incorporated in the programmes of other parties. So basically, politics in the Netherlands is shifting towards our program, because the Dutch voters are favorable towards our political solutions.
Sputnik: You represent PVV in the EU Parliament, and you are the co-president of the ENF group. Do you feel support from your colleagues, from allies such as Belgium's Flemish Interest, from France's National Front and other European patriotic movements? What is it that unites them?
Marcel de Graaff: It is great to see that this patriotic movement is spreading across the EU. With our friends in the EU we have formed a political group in the European Parliament. There is both support and friendship in our group and between our parties because we all fight for the same ideals: a Europe of free and sovereign nation states. We all want our nations to flourish and therefore, we all very much support mutual trade. We, however, don't want a centralized European Union, where the Commission dictates the nations.
We all want to protect our national identities and diversity is what made Europe strong in the past, so you want to cherish that. Movements like socialism, which want uniformity of thought and of habit, are the movements that lead the European nations to war.
The views and opinions expressed by Marcel de Graaff are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.