IN a spirit of European unity, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch leader of the eurozone finance ministers who will shortly lose his position following the recent Dutch election has managed to upset a number of the member states of the European Union.
Having been involved in negotiating the Greek debt, he is now quoted in an interview with a German newspaper as saying “I can’t spend all my money on liqueurs and women and then go and ask for your support.”
This comment was seen as being a direct attack on southern European states and their indebtedness and received an immediate response from senior politicians in Portugal and Italy suggesting that he was both racist and xenophobic and should stand down immediately.
Whilst some members of the European Commission have agreed that his comments were ill-judged, he has refused to withdraw his comments and various Spanish politicians in the European Parliament have taken him to task.
One of the most telling comments however came from Albert Riviera, leader of Ciudadanos who said in parliament “It is not true that Spain has spent money on alcohol and women, we spend it on corruption, empty airports and roads without cars.”