Portugal’s prime minister has joined the chorus of southern European leaders calling for the resignation of Jeroen Dijsselbloem as head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers.
António Costa said on Wednesday that the Dutch finance minister’s comments that crisis-hit eurozone countries had wasted their money on “drinks and women” were “absolutely unacceptable” and “very dangerous”.
Mr Costa, whose minority Socialist government has overturned many of the austerity measures introduced during Portugal’s 2011-2014 bailout said:
Europe will only be credible as a common project when Mr Dijsselbloem is no longer president of the Eurogroup and when he has made a clear apology to the countries and peoples who were deeply offended by his comments.
In caustic comments to reporters, the Portuguese prime minister said Mr Dijsselbloem’s remarks were dangerous because they showed another face of populism, expressed by people “dressed in sheep’s clothing” but making comments that were “racist, xenophobic and sexist”.
Portugal had fulfilled all its commitments to the EU and had “no lessons to learn from Mr Dijsselbloem”, Mr Costa added.