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Eurogroup Chief Slammed Over Game of 'Ping Pong' on Greek Bailout

© REUTERS / Yves HermanDutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem takes part in a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium March 20, 2017.
Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem takes part in a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium March 20, 2017. - Sputnik International
Appearing before the EU Parliament for the first time since calls for his resignation over his controversial "booze and women" comments over southern Eurozone states, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been lambasted for his tough stance on Greece.

Dijsselbloem caused outrage when he told a German newspaper that the southern — mainly Mediterranean — eurozone members, who are struggling to remain within the fiscal rules of the currency, were wasting money.

"During 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 attribute exceptional importance to solidarity. [But] you also have obligations. You cannot spend all the money on drinks and women and then ask for help," he said.

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem - Sputnik International
MEPs Demand Resignation of Euro Boss Dijsselbloem Over 'Booze and Women' Remarks

Many MEPs called on him to resign or be sacked for the remarks, which were taken as a sign of the continuing north-south divide within the Eurozone, with countries like Greece, Italy and Spain struggling to remain within strict austerity targets.

MEPs were also critical of Dijsselbloem for refusing invitations to address parliament, which he finally gave into April 28, when he faced a barrage of criticism.

"The Greek people have paid enough, they have made huge changes and sacrifices and suffered unemployment — this game of ping-pong between Berlin and the IMF on the back of the Greek people has gone on for long enough," said Vice-President of the European Parliament Dimitrios Papadimoulis.

"Mr. Dijsselbloem, as a social democrat, what do you want your historical legacy to be? Do you want to be the President of the Eurogroup that contributed to a holistic agreement on the 22nd of May or do you want to be remembered for those unfortunate declarations about women and drinks? I think you still have the time to choose between these two options," said Papadimoulis.

Dijsselbloem faced a particularly hostile grilling at the hands of German MEP Fabio De Masi, who has been highly critical of Dijsselbloem's ungentlemanly conduct throughout the past month.

​"Everybody's abandoned you — everyone except [German finance minister] Schauble. Even your own party is ashamed of you! Only 5 percent of Dutch voters chose your party after your austerity policy helped destroy social democracy in the country — just like your equivalent in France," de Masi said.

"And throughout all this, you never came clean to us that the rescue of the euro was really about saving the banks of northern Europe. The eurozone needs public investment and the Eurogroup requires democratic accountability.

"Dijsselbloem explained his recent verbal failures by referring to Calvinism. Well, from one fellow Christian to another, here's my brotherly advice: go now — in the name of God — just go!" said De Masi.

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