Dutch minister has accused southern EU states on frittering away money on frivolous purchases
The Dutch minister of economy, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, has ruffled feathers by accusing southern EU states on frittering away money on frivolous purchases.
Mr Dijsselbloem, also the current Eurogroup chief, launched a scathing attack on nations in the south as he kickstarted a campaign to stay in power.
He said: "In the crisis of the euro, the countries of the North have shown solidarity with the countries affected by the crisis.
“As a Social Democrat, I give an exceptional importance to solidarity, but the one asking for it also has obligations.
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“You can’t spend all the money on drinks and women and then ask for help."
Mr Dijsselbloem is attempting to cling to power despite his Labour party tanking in the polls in last week’s national elections.
It is likely the result will see his party unable to remain part of the governing coalition.
The Dutch minister of economy, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, has ruffled feathers
The issue of creating a permanent presidency of the Eurogroup, an option which has already been proposed by bodies such as the European Parliament, is particularly relevant as Mr Dijsselbloem may lose his job as a Dutch minister before his term ends in the Eurogroup in 2018.
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Amid his uncertain future his latest remarks, made during an interview with a German newspaper, have angered the South, notably Spain.
The Spanish Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, attacked Mr Dijsselbloem over his negative portrayal of southern Europe.
You can’t spend all the money on drinks and women and then ask for help
He called his comments “unfortunate”, adding: "I do not think that Portugal, Greece, Cyprus or Ireland have wasted money. Solidarity is important.
"They lent us $40billion, but we have lent other countries a similar amount and making such comparisons is not ideal.”
The Mediterranean nation was one of the worst hit by the financial crash, and required financial help and a bail-out from the EU.
The Spanish Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, attacked Mr Dijsselbloem
Mr de Guindos pointed towards the country’s economic recovery, hinting that it would allow Spain to participate more in the EU.
He said: "Spain is clearly under-represented in the economic organisations of the EU and the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
Spain and other nations in southern Europe have voiced their growing concern with a two-speed Europe
“The economic recovery is important for all the Spaniards and meeting the deficit target is important because it is a stability factor and this is much more relevant than the recovery of jobs.”
Spain and other nations in southern Europe have voiced their growing concern with Brussels over plans for a two-speed Europe, as they fear being left behind.