Flashback to when Geert Wilders wanted Greece to return to the drachma: "Greeks cheat and spend the money ouzo"

Geert Wilders

The wide margin with which the far-right, Islamophobic party of Geert Wilders won the parliamentary elections held on Wednesday in the Netherlands caused international surprise.

However, Geert Wilders is not unknown in our country. 12 years ago, specifically in June 2011, and while Greece was amidst a crisis and memoranda, Wilders took a provocative action outside the Greek embassy in The Hague.

In particular, together with MP Teun van Dijk, he posed with a placard depicting a thousand drachma banknotes, wanting Greece to return to the drachma.

In fact, a few years later, in 2017, the far-right Wilders launched a new attack against Greece in the context of his populist rhetoric.

He expressed the opinion that the Greeks "cheat", spend the money "on souvlaki and ouzo" and then ask for loans, in a question to the Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and he had even called our country a "bottomless well".

See photos:

A TV debate late in the campaign showcases the appeal of far-right leader Geert Wilders, who pulled off a shock victory in Dutch elections on Wednesday. He was up against Frans Timmermans, the socialist standard bearer who returned from Brussels in a vain attempt to stop his homeland’s rightward tilt.

“You speak, I believe, seven languages,” Wilders told the son of a diplomat and ex-European commissioner. “But not the language of the people.”

The barb — similar to those thrown by Donald Trump in the US or by those in the UK who campaigned for Brexit — hit where intended with the electorate. Did they want Wilders, promising to “put the Dutch first”, or Timmermans, representing a globetrotting elite who could live anywhere, and easily afford increased food and housing costs?

Wilders, 60, who formed his Freedom party in 2006, has remained an outsider, doing little to curb his own crude attacks on Islam, migrants and Brussels during years in opposition.

He was convicted in 2016 for “collective discrimination” at a campaign rally where he led a chant calling for fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. He lost an appeal and has never apologised.

In recent days he did moderate his tone and say he could compromise to form a government, with some Dutch media dubbing him “Geert Milders”.

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