Dutch prime minister, populist leader clash in Europe debate

The Dutch prime minister has clashed with the leader of a right-wing populist party over immigration and whether the Netherlands should remain in the European Union in a debate on the eve of European Parliament elections.

The debate Wednesday night between center-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte and populist Thierry Baudet touched on key battlegrounds in four days of voting across the 28-nation EU. The elections kick off Thursday in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Baudet has said he supports a referendum on the Netherlands leaving the EU and expressed support for right-wing nationalists Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Rutte said leaving the EU would weaken the Netherlands and insisted that remaining in the bloc is the best way of tackling the migrant crisis.