(Photo: A Muslim woman protests against France’s ban on full face veils outside the French Embassy in London September 25, 2010/Luke MacGregor)
Two centre-right parties agreed on Thursday to ban full face veils in the Netherlands as the price for parliamentary support from the anti-Islam Freedom party for their planned minority government.
The Netherlands would become the second European Union country to ban Muslim veils — known collectively as burqas in many European countries — after France, in what many see as a shift to the right which has dented the bloc’s reputation for tolerance and may increase security risks.
The draft agreement tightens the rules on immigration and boosts the number of police officers in a concession to far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders, who is on trial for inciting hatred against Muslims.
In return Wilders would support the new coalition’s plans for 18 billion euros ($24 billion) in budget cuts and to bring the deficit within European Union limits by 2013.
“We want to stop the Islamisation (of the Netherlands),” Wilders told a news conference, adding that the measures would cut non-Western immigration by half.