02:33 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem

    Eurogroup President Apologizes for Criticism of Southern EU Member States

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    Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem apologized, in a letter to the European Parliament on Tuesday, for his regrettable choice of words regarding southern European crisis-hit countries, and reiterated his support for European solidarity.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) In March, Dijsselbloem came under fire after an interview with a German newspaper, in which the departing Dutch finance minister, praised northern European countries for their solidarity with southern crisis countries, but noted that "I can't spend all my money on alcohol and women and then ask you for help." The comment resulted in numerous calls for his resignation.

    "In my interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung I have underlined the importance of solidarity and reciprocity within the European Union. I made the point that the agreed framework is crucial for confidence in the Eurozone…. My words were linked to the situation in countries in Southern Europe during the crisis years. It is very unfortunate that this link was made as this was not what I said. And it certainly was not what I had intended. The crisis has impacted societies throughout the eurozone at great social expense and solidarity has been very much justified," his letter to the European Parliament reads.

    He stressed, however, that "building a community, including solidarity, comes with commitment to joint values, laid down in our legal agreements."

    Dijsselbloem heads the Eurogroup, a grouping of 19 Eurozone member state finance ministers, which oversees the EU financial matters, such as the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). Dijsselbloem's term as president is due to end in January 2018.

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