INTERVIEW WITH NEW VVD CHIEF MALIK AZMANI: Malik Azmani is the top European Parliament candidate for the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), which also tops the most recent Dutch polls. The son of a Frisian mother and Moroccan father, Azmani has been an MP since 2010 and has focused on migration, including a proposal that refugees should only be received in neighboring countries.
After 10 years you will take over the party leadership from Hans van Baalen. What will you do differently from your predecessor?
First of all, I must pay tribute to Hans … My predecessor experienced turbulent times, with the credit crisis and the euro crisis, for example … Looking to the future … We can no longer sit back and lean on the U.S. or hope that Erdoğan and Putin will come to repentance. Europe must become more stable and we must be able to manage on our own, for example when it comes to security and defense.
Your election program demands that “Europe focuses on cross-border challenges and does not interfere in things that countries can manage themselves.”
Pensions, social security, health care, primary and secondary education. These are very important subjects, of which we believe that the Netherlands can mainly regulate them by itself. In addition, we must constantly check whether European rules do not stand in the way of entrepreneurs too much.
The margins between the parties are very small, so this year the 29 seats may well be divided between 12 parties. Does this make it more difficult to represent the Netherlands well in the EU?
The Netherlands is a liberal country of free-spirited people with countless opinions … The Dutch parties, regardless of their political affiliations, often act together in the Dutch interest in Europe. In the end we always know how to find each other, that is also the strength of our poldermodel.