×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
VIEW
×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
VIEW
Tags: EU | Eurozone Chief | Controversy

Calls for Eurozone Chief to Quit for 'liquor and Women' Quip

Calls for Eurozone Chief to Quit for 'liquor and Women' Quip

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 10:38 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — Portugal led calls on Wednesday for the head of the eurozone to resign for what many considered derogatory comments about southern debt-ridden nations spending foolishly before seeking outside help to emerge from the financial crisis.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, said this week, in reference to European countries that needed bailouts, that "I cannot spend all my money on liquor and women and then ask for your support."

The comments, made in an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, drew outrage in southern European nations.

"We regard it as absolutely unacceptable for him to stay in his post," Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said Wednesday.

"Mr. Dijsselbloem has insulted us. Mr. Dijsselbloem has shown himself to be sexist, racist, xenophobic and an embarrassment for Europe, and because of that he cannot hold any EU post," Costa said.

It also revived a north-south divide in Europe. Supposedly thrifty northern Europeans have shouldered most of the cost of bailing out eurozone governments, mostly in the south: Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus. Spain got loans for its banks but also had to impose painful austerity to meet EU deficit limits.

Dijsselbloem refused to apologize for his statement late Tuesday and insisted that financial solidarity comes with obligations, including budgetary rigor that sometimes was found wanting.

And it hit especially hard in nations like Portugal and Spain, which for years had to suffer through grinding budget austerity cuts. Portugal has managed to bring its deficit, which stood at 10 percent of GDP in 2010, to just over 2 percent, the lowest in more than 40 years.

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told reporters the remarks were "unfortunate in every way," adding that he had counted on an apology, which was unforthcoming.

In Greece, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Dijsselbloem adopted "stereotypes that widen the gap between north and south and in reality pave the way, one would say, for extremist views." Tzanakopoulos added that "at a time when Europe is in an intense political quest for its next political steps, statements that expand the gap between north and south are not helpful at all."

The embarrassing spat comes just as Rome prepares to host an EU leaders' summit marking 60 years since the founding of the forerunner of the European Union. In Parliament on Wednesday, the Italian president gave a speech urging EU nations to stay united if they hope to meet current challenges.

The EU's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager of Denmark, also made clear she opposed Dijsselbloem's remark. "I would not have said it, and I think it's wrong," she said.

Germany was an exception to the rule, with the finance ministry saying that minister Wolfgang Schaeuble "greatly values" Dijsselbloem's work as head of the eurogroup.

Dijsselbloem, a socialist, has been chairing financial meetings of the 19 nations that share the euro. He was in office when Greece almost fell out of the eurozone in the summer of 2015 because of its high debt and difficulties in committing to financial and economic reforms.

Dijsselbloem already faces questions about whether he can hold on to his post after his Labor Party had a disastrous showing in last week's Dutch elections.

Associated Press writer Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Geir Moulson in Berlin, Elena Becatoros in Athens, Frances D'Emilio in Rome and Mike Corder in The Hague contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Europe
Portugal led calls on Wednesday for the head of the eurozone to resign for what many considered derogatory comments about southern debt-ridden nations spending foolishly before seeking outside help to emerge from the financial crisis.Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance...
EU,Eurozone Chief,Controversy
560
2017-38-22
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 10:38 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
 
TOP

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved