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Matteo Renzi, Italy’s former prime minister and aspiring leader of the centre-left Democratic party, has called on Jeroen Dijsselbloem (pictured) to quit as head of the Eurogroup after the Dutch finance minister said crisis-hit European countries had wasted their money on “drinks and women”.
In a scathing Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Mr Renzi said Mr Dijsselbloem “lost a great opportunity to be quiet” and “does not deserve” to keep his position as leader of the eurozone finance ministers.
“The sooner he resigns the better it is. For him but also for the credibility of European institutions,” Mr Renzi wrote. “If he wants to offend Italy, he should do it in a sports bar back home, not in his institutional role,” he added.
Mr Renzi is attempting to make a political comeback after resigning as prime minister in the wake of the defeat of a referendum on his flagship constitutional reforms. Mr Renzi is first hoping to regain control of the ruling PD in a leadership contest set for April 30, and then to position himself as a candidate for prime minister ahead of the next general election due in early 2018. Meanwhile, though, the anti-establishment and euro-sceptic Five Star Movement, has emerged as Italy’s leading party in opinion polls.
In a statement, Five Star also called for Mr Dijsselbloem to step down. “Dijsselbloem’s vision of Europe is evident in the union’s policies: a presumed economic, moral and even cultural superiority coming from northern countries, to the detriment of those in the South”, it said.