Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Judith Sargentini on greetings in Europe
I have not been terribly enthousiastic about the coherence of the debate in the run up to the European parliamentary elections. Most politicians are just wasting their time when they get the chance to say something on tv. Judith Sargentini stood out in the tv debate on the Dutch popular TV show "Pauw & Witteman" when she said the first thing Dutch politicians will learn when they become member of the European parliament is the fact that there will be 27 different ways of greeting. Will you just shake hands, will you kiss? This remark is off course aimed at the debate surrounding immigrants in the Netherlands. Everyone who follows Dutch politics remembers the Imam that refused to shake hands with the Dutch minister of immigration and integration, Rita Verdonk. Rita Verdonk then made out of this a big fuss and journalists made handshaking to be the shiboleth of integration. It is clear that Judith Sargentini knows what the debate in the Netherlands is about these days and makes it clear that Dutch politicians have been disregarding the international context in which they are operating.