Jeroen Dijsselbloem has defended his
Jeroen Dijsselbloem got into hot water in March after he gave an interview to German newspaper De Volkskrant.
He said in the interview: “Regarding the euro crisis, the countries of the north have shown solidarity with the countries affected by the crisis.
“As a social democrat, solidarity is extremely important. But I can’t spend all my money on drinks and women and then ask for help.”
But after his colleagues turned on him, he fired back that the backlash made it “look like I committed a war crime”.
He added: "I would have rephrased [my original comments] otherwise, probably. But it was my way of making clear that solidarity is not charity.”
In March, more than 70 of the 751 European Parliamentarians signed a letter demanding Mr Dijsselbloem's resignation over the remarks.
Matteo Renzi urged Dijsselbloem to resign
The letter condemned Mr Dijsselbloem and accused him of going against EU values.
The letter stated: “Your statements attack one of the most important values that underpin our European Union: equality.
“The EU is not just rules, meetings and political decisions. What supports all of this, what gives meaning to the EU, are our common values, and equality as the most important one.”
Mr Dijsselbloem was accused of going against EU values
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The MEPs, from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Greece, said the comments were “unequivocally discriminatory and offensive” against several European Union countries and “sexist against women”.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa blasted Dijsselbloem’s statements as “racist, xenophobic and sexist”, while ex-Italian premier Matteo Renzi urged Dijsselbloem to resign.
“If he wants to offend Italy, he should do it at the sports bar under his house, not in his institutional role,” Renzi wrote on Facebook.
But the departing Dutch finance minister appeared to take the calls for him to stand down in his stride.
Niall Quinn lauds "workaholic" Spurs star Heung-min Son
Swedish foreign minister DEMANDS common EU immigration rule
Le Pen's niece says Brexit PROVES France can ditch the EU
Mr Dijsselbloem said that the criticism was really because of “anger at eight years of crisis policy” sweeping the EU.
He also rejected the calls for his resignation, and urged the EU to pay more attention to real issues.
"It's sad that we put so much time and energy into an interview while Greece is slipping into a new crisis," Dijsselbloem told De Volkskrant.
"[It’s] really annoying that so many people were so offended and angry. But the parliamentarians are trying to push me into a corner, as if I claimed that all Southern Europeans are big spenders. Nonsense!" he added.