Jeroen Dijsselbloem: Foot-in-Mouth Disease
Twice in eight days Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has made unguarded comments that moved markets. And he's only been on the job since taking over from Jean-Claude "Mr Euro" Juncker as head of the Eurogroup in late January.
First time: Last Saturday when he refused to rule out that insured deposits below 100,000 euros could be taxed in other euro zone countries.
In that instance, he asked some very shaken reporters to ask their deposit-related questions all together to save repetition and missed answering several, garnering a stern reprimand from an FT journo, Peter Spiegel.
Then he shrugged off a question about ruling out deposit levies for the likes of Spain and Italy, saying it hadn't been discussed. Olli Rehn later that night saved the situation to some degree, but the blame game for miscommunication continued the following week.
Indeed, Dijsselbloem had to backtrack just days later after a massive backlash from Cypriot Parliament and the international community, to whom protection of small deposit holders in banks is a key tenet of modern functioning economies.
He took full blame for that blunder and one might expect him to be more careful or guarded with his comments going forward. That has hardly proven the case, however. And his remarks on Monday suggesting Cyprus would be a model for future bank resolutions in Europe -- despite a carefully honed Eurogroup message that Cyprus was in fact "unique" -- sent the euro and risk assets spiraling.
The same can be said of his credibility now that a two-word statement clarifying that Cyprus was not a model or template had to be issued hours later .
Same blunder as last week. He blatantly has no understanding of risk markets or how to communicate with them.
He has a point, Europe is way behind the U.K. and the U.S. in the deleveraging process...but still.
Juncker is quietly loving it no doubt.