Shnaps and women: Eurogroup chief says he regrets misogynistic comments but refuses to step down
Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem says he won't quit after calls for his resignation following racist and sexist remarks.
In an interview with Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Monday, Dijsselbloem said that while committing to financial rescues for poorer nations in the eurozone was important, "I can't spend all my money on drinks and women and then ask for help."
Dijsselbloem faced very harsh criticism from Portugal's prime minister and former Italian premier Matteo Renzi over his comments, calling for his immediate departure.
La Stampa and the Turin daily also mocked the Dutch politician's' use of what it called tired "old stereotypes", describing him as pulling "his clogs" and going back to his "marvellous windmill in a field of tulips".
Dijsselbloem was praised for steering the eurozone through part of its debt crisis, but the tensions in the single currency area between austerity-pushing northern countries and debt-hit southern ones have never stopped.
"If Europe were serious, Dijsselbloem would be already sacked," said Portuguese premier Antonio Costa at an event in Portugal.
"The sooner he goes the better," Italy's Renzi said in a post on his Facebook.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani described Dijsselbloem remarks as "unacceptable."
The Eurogroup chief who expressed "regret" on Wednesday over his comments that southern European countries blew their money on "Shnaps and women" said that his words were misinterpreted.
His words did not go down very well with Mediterranean countries however. Portugal, Greece and Cyprus have all received eurozone bailouts and Spain's banks have also received support.
Dijsselbloem's mandate as head of the Eurogroup lasts until January 2018.