THE NETHERLANDS–Prime Minister Mark Rutte made a number of thinly veiled insults aimed at Amsterdam while speaking on television program Buitenhof on Sunday. While speaking about the climate agreement, which the government and business community signed in December, Rutte mentioned the “Amsterdam elite” and later also the “white wine sipping elite”, Het Parool reports.
Rutte was asked about the climate agreement because Klaas Dijkhoff, leader of Rutte’s own VVD, said on Saturday that he will not implement it. His words, Rutte stressed. “Yes, we’re going to meet those goals”, the Prime Minister said. “Not because we like it or because the Amsterdam elite want it, but because the whole of the Netherlands does not want this mess to be passed on to the next generation” Later Rutte said that he is sick of the “white wine sipping elite”, according to the newspaper.
The character sketch Rutte created of the Dutch capital is reminiscent of May last year, when Rutte said at a VVD congress that Amsterdam “is lost” to the left after the municipal elections. VVD parliamentarian Tierry Aartsen also pleaded in the Volkskrant for less subsidy for “high culture”. “There are undoubtedly many friends of D66 and GroenLinks in the Stopera, glass of Chablis in the hand”, Aartsen said.
Femke Roosma, leader of the Amsterdam faction of GroenLinks, is not much phased by the Prime Minister’s statements. Rutte would have done better speaking for connection and leadership, instead of playing on “sentiments that set people against each other”, Roosma said to Het Parool.”The VVD interest can not be above the social.”
Eric van der Burg, VVD leader in Amsterdam, tried to lighten the mood with a tweet on Sunday night. He said that he himself does not drink, and that his faction prefers beer and bitterballen.