STRASBOURG (Reuters) - Several euro lawmakers called on Monday on Jeroen Dijsselbloem to resign as Eurogroup chairman after he declined to address the European Parliament, also criticising him for remarks interpreted as disparaging towards southern Europeans.
Dijsselbloem, who chairs the meetings of euro zone finance ministers, turned down parliament’s invitation to participate in a plenary debate on the Greek bailout programme scheduled for Tuesday.
The Dutchman, whose mandate ends in January, has previously declined to participate in plenary debates, but he is under pressure for other reasons.
His party lost heavily in national elections in March.
In an interview two weeks ago with German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), he said wealthier northern European countries had showed solidarity with the south during the euro zone crisis by giving them financial aid.
“But whoever demands it, also has obligations. I can’t spend all my money on booze and women and then ask you for your support,” he was quoted as saying.
The European Parliament said several MEPs had called on Dijsselbloem to resign after declining to attend and “stressed that a Eurogroup President must be accountable to representatives of the people affected by Eurogroup measures.”
Parliamentary president Antonio Tajani said he would send a formal letter of protest to the Dutchman.
Dijsselbloem has said his comments in the FAZ interview were not directed to southern Europeans.
A spokesman for Dijsselbloem declined to comment on the renewed criticism from the parliament.
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by John Stonestreet