Speech Geert Wilders, Los Angeles, June 9, 2013
The Resurgence of National Pride and the Future of Europe
Dear friends, thank you for inviting me to Los Angeles. I always like coming to the United States. There are many things that I admire Americans for. One of them is that they are unashamedly patriotic.
The American Freedom Association has asked me to speak to you about the future of Europe.
Europe is in a terrible state. Bit by bit, European countries are losing their national sovereignty. The economy is in shambles. Islamic immigrants riot and terrorize the many locals. And when people's throats are slit in the streets, while the murderers shout "Allahu Akbar," the authorities appease the killers and declare that Islam has nothing to do with it.
Europeans feel that the gap between them en those who rule them is growing. Many no longer feel represented by their politicians. There is a complete disconnect between the people that truly rule Europe and the people that live in it.
The blame lies to a large extent with the European Union and the weak leadership within the European countries which have signed away their national sovereignty. The EU cannot be compared to the United States. Europe is a continent of many different nations with their own identities, traditions and languages. The EU is a supranational organization, but its leaders aim to turn it into a state. To this end they are destroying the wealth, identity and freedoms of the existing nation-states of Europe.
Before I elaborate, let us take a closer look at the terrible mistake that Europe made.
Following the Second World War, Europe's leaders mistakenly thought that patriotism was the cause of the war.
All over Europe, not just in Germany, but everywhere, they equated the defense of national identity with extremism.
Politicians told the electorate that the nation state was dangerous.
On the rooftops of Europe's parliaments and official buildings, they flew the EU flag next to the national flag, as if the nation is nothing but a province of a Pan-European empire.
On the number plates of European cars, they put the EU flag instead of the national flag, thereby forcing people to drive around with the symbol of their subjection.
They signed away their national interests for the goal of so-called Europeanization.
Such policies could never have been possible if the ruling elite had not fallen for the ideology of cultural and moral relativism. Patriotism, which is a virtue, came to be seen as a vice.
Today, the citizens of Europe are reaping the bitter harvest of this arrogance, this refusal to stand by the ancient nations of Europe, the mothers of modern democracy, the guardians of our liberty.
The EU stands for everything that is wrong in Europe.
It is a gigantic undemocratic transnational monster.
It issues legislation permeated with cultural relativism.
It meddles in the everyday lives of millions of people.
It has opened Europe's borders to uncontrolled mass immigration, mostly from Islamic countries.
And it has deprived Europe's parliaments of a huge amount of their legislative powers.
The European Union has brought one-size-fits-none policies that have resulted in economic disaster. It has led to growing tensions between the nations of Europe. It has led to the loss of democracy and liberty. Because the premise on which it was built, was false.
Robert Schuman, one of the EU's founding fathers, said that the EU's aim was – I quote – "to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible." – end of quote. But the idea that Germany, France, Britain and other nations in the past went to war because they were sovereign nations is simply ridiculous.
As I tell my audience whenever and wherever I speak in Germany, it was not German patriotism that started the Second World War; it was Hitler's vicious totalitarian ideology of Nazism.
It was not German patriotism that caused the holocaust. German patriots, such as Count Stauffenberg, fought Hitler. "Let the world see that not all Germans are like Hitler; that not all Germans are Nazis," he wrote in his diary the evening before Hitler's hounds executed him.
Likewise, it was not Russian patriotism that sent people to the Gulag; it was the Soviets' vicious totalitarian ideology of Communism. Russian patriots, such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, stood up against the Soviets.
Nevertheless, the proponents of the EU keep pretending that without the EU, the Germans, the French, the British, the Dutch and the other nations of Europe would go to war again. The European Union has even been given the Nobel Peace Prize for the achievement of preserving peace in Europe – an achievement that is according to me NATO's rather than the EU's.
My friends, no-one knows this better than American patriots such as you: True patriots are always democrats. Because true patriots love their people and their country. You do not want your nation to be invaded by other countries. But neither do you want a totalitarian ideology, such as Communism or Nazism or Islam, to rob you of your own identity and enslave you.
Patriots want their country to be free. But people only care about the freedom of their country if they love it first. That is why one of my heroes Ronald Reagan said in his Farewell Address that we have to teach our children what our country is, what it stands for, what it represents in the long history of the world. Reagan said that Americans need – I quote – "a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions." – end of quote.
Patriotism is not a totalitarian ideology aiming for world control; it is love of one's own country and identity – and as such it is the strongest force against totalitarian ideologies aiming for world domination.
Love your country, appreciate its national institutions. As long as you do this, your country will remain the land of the free. But if you fail to do so, you will lose your freedoms. That is the lesson that we, Europeans, have learned the hard way after the past six decades of experimenting with EU transnationalism.
And the worst thing, my friends, the worst thing is that we could and should have known better.
In her last book, Statecraft, Margaret Thatcher wrote – I quote: "That such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European superstate was ever embarked on will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era." – end of quote.
My friends, let me tell you about the terrible consequences of this folly.
The Europeans set out to build a political tower of Babel.
In 1957, six European nations, including my own, the Netherlands, signed the Rome Treaty. They committed themselves to the formation of – I quote from the Treaty's preamble – "an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe." – end of quote.
From the original six, the European Union's member states expanded to 27 nations today. Nations as diverse as Finland and Portugal, Ireland and Bulgaria, with their entirely different languages, cultures, traditions, habits and mentalities, were forced by their political leaders to adopt the same economic, fiscal, social, security, and foreign policies.
These policies are drawn up by the enormous, ever expanding bureaucracy of the so-called European Commission in Brussels. It issues laws – so-called "directives" – that the member-states are forced to implement in their national legislation.
As a national legislator in the Netherlands I daily experience how little we still have to say about our own fate. We are expected to rubberstamp legislation made behind closed doors in Brussels.
Both the EU Council of Ministers and the European Commission negotiate in secret and then emerge to announce their agreement and present it. That is how the system works. And we are not allowed to ask questions.
Those who dare think differently are labeled enemies of European integration. They are the so-called Europhobes.
The former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky calls the EU the EUSSR, because of its striking similarities to the former Soviet Union. He compares the European Commission to the former Soviet Politburo and Brussels to Moscow before the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Two weeks ago, I went to Prague and met with Vaclav Klaus, the former President of the Czech Republic. President Klaus speaks of Europeanism as one of the new and dangerous ideologies that have supplanted Socialism.
During his ten years in office, President Klaus refused to fly the EU flag over the Czech presidential palace. He points out that the EU is – I quote – "based on big and patronizing government, extensive regulating of human behavior and large-scale income redistribution. It shifts government upwards, which means to the level where there is no democratic accountability and where the decisions are made by bureaucrats appointed by politicians, not elected by citizens in free elections." – end of quote.
The EU supranationalism has brought the once prosperous, sovereign and free nations of Europe economic misery, a loss of national identity, the demise of freedom and independence.
17 of the 27 EU member states have even been so foolish as to dump their national currency. By adopting the euro, the common EU currency, they joined the so-called eurozone.
Strong and solid currencies that were the pride of their nations, such as the Dutch Guilder and the German Deutschmark, were sacrificed on the altar of European unification. The then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl sold this project to his people as – I quote – "a matter of war or peace." – end of quote. The euro was presented as – I quote again – "an angel of peace."
But what did this angel do to us?
All the countries that joined the euro lost the power to adjust their currency to their own economic needs. They have destroyed their economies and have doomed their people to rising poverty and unemployment.
They all suffered as a consequence. They all have to share the burden of other countries, even if the latter are suffering from self-inflicted policies, corruption or fraud, like in Greece.
Last year, my party, the Dutch Party for Freedom, commissioned a study by the renowned independent British bureau, Lombard Street Research, into the cost for the Netherlands of the euro so far.
The study found that, since the Dutch introduced the euro, the growth of consumption spending no longer matches the growth of GDP, as it did before we joined the euro and as it still does in all the countries that kept out of the eurozone. The cost was a huge loss in consumer spending.
The study showed that continuing to uphold the euro would cost the Netherlands billions of euros. The Eurozone is a huge transfer zone, whereby taxpayers in our country are forced to subsidize other countries. The rising taxes have pushed our country, the Netherlands, into economic recession. Unemployment has grown to over 8% – the highest in decades.
And the countries that receive our taxes have no chance of recovery. They have no chance of economic growth within a monetary union where the currency is too strong for them. Millions of people are losing their jobs as a consequence. Countries such as Spain are doomed with unemployment figures reaching almost up to 30% today.
EU countries have also lost sovereignty over their own national budgets. The European Commission – not our national government – decides how big their deficits and national debts are allowed to be. It imposes austerity measures. But at the same time it demands ever larger sums to be transferred to Brussels or to so-called rescue operations for the euro and to bail out countries, like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.
Last month, the EU decided to raise its budget. My country and the Dutch government opposed this decision, but we were simply overruled. We have no veto right. Now we are forced to pay even more to Brussels. While government expenditure cannot be slashed by cutting the sums demanded by the EU, the Dutch government has raised taxes dramatically. The impact has been devastating. Higher taxes have resulted in less government income and have led to a contraction of the economy and a rise in unemployment.
The same phenomenon can be seen all over Europe. The growth of expenses and taxes, the inability to create a competitive environment, the overregulation of the economy, the stifling bureaucratization – all this is leading straight to economic collapse.
But there is worse. EU member-states no longer control their own borders.
Immigration policies are decided by the European Commission and the cultural relativists who are in charge there. The current European Commissioner overseeing immigration policy is Cecilia Malmström, formerly a left-wing kind of hippy politician from Sweden. Third-World immigration has turned Sweden into a nightmare, with immigrants frequently rioting in major Swedish cities such as Stockholm and Malmö.
Mrs. Malmström is forcing all EU member states to follow the Swedish example.
Last year, I wrote her a letter. "Not one single Dutchman has voted for you," I told her. "We do not know who you are. We do not want to know who you are, but you force your ideas on our people. We are suffering from your absurd refusal to allow us even the slightest restriction to our immigration policy. You do not even want to limit the number of partners that one is allowed to bring into the Netherlands! We urge you to cease your activities and give us our sovereignty back," I wrote.
Needless to say that I am still waiting for an answer from her, despite the fact that I am an elected politician, accountable to the voters, while she is not. That is why she can afford not to answer a parliamentarian.
Millions of non-Western immigrants are flooding into Europe, predominantly people from Islamic countries. The Pew Research Center estimated the number of Muslims in Western European countries at 18.2 million in 2010. It expects that this number will rise to almost 30 million by 2030. The Netherlands will see its Islamic population grow from 5.5 to almost 8%, Britain from 5 to 8%, Sweden will even see it double from 5 to 10%, and France will see a rise from over 7 to over 10%.
A demographic catastrophe is about to happen.
During the past three decades, so many people rooted in a culture entirely different from Europe's own Judeo-Christian and humanist tradition have entered Europe that its heritage, its freedoms, its prosperity, and its culture are in danger.
The signs are there for all to see.
Look at the names people give to their children. Mohammed is today the most popular name among newborn boys in many French, Belgian and Dutch cities. Mohammes is even the most popular name among all newborns in England and Wales.
Look at Europe's inner cities. Visit Europe and you will see that they have come to resemble Northern Africa and the Middle East. They have become areas ruled by Islamic Sharia law. Only last month, a Dutch newspaper reported that a neighborhood barely two miles from our parliament building in The Hague is now a Sharia zone.
Islamic areas also border the EU headquarters in Brussels. And less than 10 miles from Westminster, the mother of all parliaments, a British soldier's throat was slit by Islamic murderers.
Paris, the capital of France, is surrounded by largely Islamic suburbs. And so are other cities. The French authorities have even drawn up a list of 751 so-called "sensible urban areas," where it is dangerous to go, especially for native Frenchmen. These are the lost territories of the French Republic, even though a staggering 5 million people, or 8 percent of the total French population, live in them.
Even soldiers are no longer safe in Europe's streets, as the recent horrible events in Britain and France have shown. But neither are Jews. Anti-Semitism has risen, and keeps rising the more Islamic immigration we get.
Indeed, my friends, after Nazism and Communism, another totalitarian ideology is threatening Europe: the evil ideology called Islam.
In Europe, we are experiencing that the more Islamic a society becomes – even when the majority of Muslims are moderates – the less free and tolerant it will be.
Atrocities, similar to the recent bombing in Boston, where Islamic immigrants massacred innocent onlookers at the marathon, occur in Europe as well. In my own country a few years ago, Theo van Gogh, a film maker critical of Islam, was butchered in the streets of Amsterdam.
Today, hundreds of young Islamic inhabitants of our countries have flocked to Syria to wage jihad there. They will return as experienced jihadists, trained in urban guerrilla warfare. But while you in America are still able to do something about it, while you can control and close your borders, while Congress can vote legislation to protect American citizens, we in Europe have been robbed of this possibility by the European Union.
And there is not only the threat of terrorism or violence; there is also the phenomenon of non-violent jihad. The rise of Islam means the rise of Islamic sharia law in our judicial systems. In Europe, we have sharia wills, sharia schools, sharia banks. In Britain, they even have official sharia courts.
Europe is gradually Islamizing. People who criticize Islam, such as myself, are threatened by Al Qaeda and dragged to court by Islamic and leftist groups. There is not just me, there is the journalist Lars Hedegaard, the author Salman Rushdie, the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, and many others.
We criticize Islam and we will keep on doing so, because it is a dangerous ideology. It is intolerant, it is violent. And, worst of all, it cannot be reformed. It cannot because it believes that the Koran is a book written directly by Allah himself. And it cannot because it calls on Muslims to follow Muhammad as the role model for their personal life. There could not be a worse model than this man, who was a warlord, a terrorist, and a pedophile.
While most Muslims are moderate people, those who think that they have to follow Muhammad's example are not. That is exactly the reason why the more Islamic a country becomes, the more unfree and violent it will be.
Europe needs to be protected against this new totalitarian threat.
That is why I say: No more immigrants from the Islamic world! My party wants to close our borders to immigration from Islamic countries.
And ever more people support us.
A poll, which we commissioned ten days ago, shows that 77% of the Dutch do not see Islam as an enrichment for our country, 68% say there is more than enough Islam in the Netherlands already. A majority of the voters of all the major parties in my country – even the voters from leftist parties – agree with these two principles.
The poll also showed that 55% of the Dutch want a stop on immigration from Islamic countries, 63% want no more mosques, 72% see a relationship between Islam and the recent terror attacks in Boston, London and Paris, 72% want a constitutional ban on Islamic Sharia law.
Ordinary people in Europe want three things.
One – They want their politicians to tackle the problem of Islamization and mass immigration. They want to control their own borders.
Two – They want to restore their national sovereignty. They do not want their countries to become provinces of a pan-European superstate.
Three – They do not want their money to be used to pay for mistakes made elsewhere. They do not want a transfer union where they have to pay higher taxes to bail out other countries, whose leaders were either corrupt or incompetent.
Poll after poll show that ordinary Europeans do not want their democracy to be subverted. Last April, a pan-European poll showed that a clear majority of the population in the major EU member states no longer trust the EU as an institution. Even in Germany the number has reached almost 60%.
This week a Gallup poll showed that for the first time in history in the Netherlands as many people want to leave the EU as stay in. A few years ago, this was unthinkable.
The strength of Europe is its diversity. Europe is not a nation; it is a cluster of nations, bound by a common Judeo-Christian and humanist culture, but with different national identities.
Last January, British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech in which he said that the EU needed to change.
He spoke about "the lack of democratic accountability," "the excessive regulation," and everything that is wrong in the EU. And there are many things I agree with, but I do not share his belief that the EU's nature can be changed. Mr. Cameron believes that the EU can be transformed into – I quote – "a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union." – end of quote. I do not believe this. If an organization has as its explicit goal that it strives for "an ever closer union," it simply cannot start moving in the opposite direction and relinquish the powers it has already acquired.
We can see how the mechanism works in the way in which the EU deals with the eurozone crisis. Rather than turning away from the destructive path that has so far been followed, Brussels is using this crisis to enforce an even tighter control over the member states.
The European Union simply cannot be democratized because the whole structure is built on a negation of democracy. As President Klaus pointed out, there can be no European democracy because there is no European demos – no European people. There can only be various European democracies – plural! – in the various European nations. What the EU does is destroy these various democracies.
And, hence, my party's position is very clear. We opt for an exit from the European Union. We want the Netherlands not just out of the Eurozone, but out of the EU altogether – including the so-called Schengen area, the group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders. We reserve the right to reinstall random border controls.
We want to retain our independence. We want home rule! We want to be the masters in our own house! We want to be the masters over our own borders. We want to be the masters of our own money. The Party for Freedom wants the Netherlands to leave the EU and join the European Free Trade Association EFTA.
But here is the good news, my friends. As I have already indicated, public support for the EU is growing thin by the day.
For months now, my party has been the biggest in the polls.
And we are not the only one.
In Britain, UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, which wants to lead Britain out of the EU, has come second in many by-elections and local and county elections during the past two years. It is polling an average of a quarter of the votes. And it is growing.
In France last year, Marine Le Pen scored 18% in the presidential elections. She has now overtaken President François Hollande. She opposes the EU. And her popularity is growing.
In Germany, it is still considered far too politically-incorrect to reject the EU. Nevertheless a new party, the Alternative for Germany, wants to take the country out of the eurozone. And its appeal is growing.
In Italy, both the country's largest party, Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement, and the the Lega Nord, the largest party in the North, want a referendum on a return to the Lira, while the Lega Nord has called the EU a failed project.
In Portugal a book advocating quitting the euro has become an instant bestseller. A proposal that was taboo until recently is now discussed openly, with the country's Chief Justice personally coming out in support of eurozone exit.
All over Europe, anti-EU feelings are growing. All over Europe there are patriot parties that reflect the resurgence of national pride in their countries, whether it be the Netherlands, Britain, France, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Flanders, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the other nations currently trapped in the European Union.
As I said, here is the good news.
Europe might be on the verge of a fundamental change for the better. We seem to be on the eve of a major and truly historic event. In Europe, the time is ripe for a glorious democratic and non-violent revolution to preserve our national freedoms and restore our sovereignty.
Exactly one year from now, the 27 member states of the European Union will be holding elections for the European Parliament.
People are finally ready all over Europe to rebel in the ballot box.
They reject the transfer union. They no longer want to pay for corrupt states.
They reject the supranational experiment of the European Union.
They are ready to cast their votes for a restoration of national sovereignty.
They are ready to defend their own cultural identity.
All they need is decent political leadership able to lead their nations out of the EU and towards a better future.
America's first president George Washington has shown that when courageous and democratic politicians are available to lead their country, they can lay the groundwork for a lasting democratic framework that guarantees freedom and prosperity for centuries to come.
My friends, my party in the Netherlands and several other parties in other European countries are preparing themselves for next year's electoral landslide.
We can feel the heartbeat of the New Patriotism in Europe.
Winter is over.
Spring is coming.
The European Spring is upon us.
And we are getting ready for it.
We are aware of our historic task.
That is why I am especially happy to be here in California today. Because the great inspirer of our upcoming democratic revolution, is one of yours. Your hero, my hero, Ronald Reagan! – who in his presidential Farewell Address said that the achievement he was most proud of in his entire presidency was "the resurgence of national pride." "The New Patriotism," as he called it.
Next year's European elections offer a unique opportunity to liberate the nations of Europe.
Next Spring's European elections offer a unique chance to correct the fatal error made by previous politicians who sold away their taxpayers' money and their national sovereignty to Brussels and delivered their countries to the evils of mass immigration and Islamization.
As a European politician, I am fully aware of my duty to grab this chance. The European elections next May must deal a blow to the parties that sold us out to the EU. Not just in the Netherlands. But everywhere in Europe.
That is why I do what is in my power to forge an alliance of democratic parties standing for the restoration of the sovereignty and freedom of their nation. I want to bring these parties together in a common endeavor to defend our identity and our values. I do not know whether I will succeed, but I am trying. It is my conviction that we have to work together. Because we are all in the same boat.
My friends, it is easy to despair. Time is running out for Britain, for France, for Germany, for the Netherlands, for all the other great nations of Europe. The present situation in Europe is bleak. If we do nothing, it will become even bleaker. If we do nothing we will be swept away by economic and demographic disaster.
But it is wrong to despair. The present is bleak, but the future looks bright. Because the future depends on our actions. We are the actors on the stage of history. That, too, is a lesson from Ronald Reagan, who said: "We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow".
I went to Paris recently to talk to Marine Le Pen and see for myself who she is and what she stands for. She is not her father. She is not anti-Semitic. She cares about France, its identity and its sovereignty.
I went to Prague to talk to President Klaus.
In the coming weeks and months, I will try to see as many patriot leaders in Europe as possible. And I always ask them for their views on Israel. Because Israel is the litmus proof.
The Jewish people did exactly the opposite of what the Europeans did after the Second World War. They drew the right conclusion. They realized that without a nation-state of their own there could be no safety for their people.
Without a nation-state, without self-governance, without self-determination there can be no security for a people nor preservation of its identity. This was the insight that led the Zionists to strive for the re-establishment of the state of Israel. Theodore Herzl said that there had to be a Jewish state in order to ensure – I quote – "a new blossoming of the Jewish spirit." – end of quote.
Indeed, a soul needs a body. The spirit of a people cannot flourish outside the body of the nation-state. The nation-state is the political body in which we live. We must preserve and cherish it. So that we can pass on to our children our national identity, our democracy, our liberty.
My friends, what we need today is Zionism for the nations of Europe. The Europeans need to follow the example of the Jewish people and re-establish their nation-state.
And that, my dear friends, is why every patriot, apart from being a democrat, by definition also has to be a true friend of Israel. A patriot cannot be anti-Semitic.
My friends, the great Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky said about the Jewish people: "We do not have to apologize for anything. We are a people as all other peoples; we do not have any intentions to be better than the rest. We do not have to account to anybody. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change, nor do we want to." – end of quote.
And so it is. For all the peoples. We do not have to apologize for being good to ourselves. We do not have to change if we do not want to change.
The peoples of Europe resent the permanent alienation of power from their nation-states. They care about their nations because they care about democracy and freedom and the wellbeing of their children. They see their democratic rights and their ancient liberties symbolized in their national flags. They are proud of their flag. And as long as their pride lasts, they will have a future.
Let us emphasize this commitment to the resurgence of our national pride with a symbolic gesture. Let us do so by endorsing the Jewish nation-state and move the embassies of our countries from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Let us fly the flags of all the free and proud nations of the world over embassies in Jerusalem, the only true capital of Israel and the cradle of our Judeo-Christian civilization.
Israel deserves our support. Not only because it is the frontline against the totalitarian threat of Islam, but also because it shows how important it is for a people to have its own homeland.
Today, a new threat is confronting us. But history shows that we can withstand it if we stand together.
We need an alliance, not only of patriots in Europe, but also an alliance between America and Europe.
We need the help and support of American patriots such as you. Such an alliance brings out the best in us, and allows us to beat the totalitarian menace.
This was proven by the alliance between Roosevelt and Churchill in the 1940s.
It defeated Nazism.
It was proven by the alliance between Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s.
It defeated Communism.
Today, Islam is a threat to all of us, to Israel, to Europe, to America. But together we can withstand it.
And we have to stand together or we will be defeated. We have no other choice.
As the great Margaret Thatcher said:
"Defeat – I do not recognize the meaning of the word."
And neither should we!