| Party for Freedom|| Politician|
| 1 November 1964 (age 51)
Joure, Netherlands (1964-11-01) |
University of Groningen
Party for Freedom
University of Groningen
Auke Zijlstra Wikipedia
Auke Zijlstra (born 1 November 1964) is a Dutch politician. He serves as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Party for Freedom since 1 September 2015. He previously served between 13 September 2011 and 1 July 2014.
Zijlstra was born on 1 November 1964 in Joure. He studied economy at the University of Groningen from 1984 to 1992.
Zijlstra then started working as a projectmanager in the ICT department of British American Tobacco from 1991 to 2002. From 2003 to 2010 he worked for the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.
Zijlstra was on the sixth position of the candidate list of the Party for Freedom at the 2009 European Parliament election. As the Party for Freedom gained only four seats he was not chosen. He went on to serve as a parliamentary aide to the Party for Freedom group in the European Parliament from September 2010 onwards. On 13 September 2011 he replaced Daniël van der Stoep, who gave his seat back to the Party for Freedom after being involved in a drunk driving accident in August 2011.
Zijlstra is known for his pro-Israel views. He sees the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a conflict in which the world denies that for the Arab side it is a conflict of religion rather than territory. He sees no solution for peace before this world opinion is changed.
In March 2012 the Party for Freedom launched a website on which Dutch citizens could complain of inconvenciences caused by migrant workers from Central and Eastern Europe. Zijlstra defended the speech in the European Parliament, citing that the party listens to the complaints by the population. He furthermore claimed that crime levels had risen in the Netherlands since the addition of new member states in 2004. He blamed the "Brussels elite" of "importing criminality from Eastern Europe". The speech and the website received severe criticism from other MEPs. In a vote on the website the European Parliament with a large majority said that the website was discriminatory and malicious.
His term ended on 1 July 2014. Zijlstra had been member, amongst others, of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council. For the 2014 European Parliament elections he held the fifth place on the Party for Freedom list, the party conquered four seats and Zijlstra was thus not elected.
Zijlstra joined the European Parliament again in September 2015, after the death of Hans Jansen.