Europe News

Time will take care of Eurogroup boss after shocking remarks, says Portugal official

Portugal was shocked by Eurogroup Chief's words on 'booze and women': Official

Portugal's deputy finance minister said Jeroen Dijsselbloem's days as Eurogroup president appear to be numbered after the Dutchman had suggested southern European countries had frivolously spent money on "booze and women."

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund spring meeting in Washington, Ricardo Mourinho Felix told CNBC on Thursday, "Time will take care of Dijsselbloem".

The Eurogroup chief has been under intense pressure to resign after a German newspaper cited him as saying, "I can't spend all my money on women and drink and then at the end ask for your help."

The comment reawakened simmering tensions in several embattled economies in southern Europe over the harsh austerity measures imposed on some of the countries during the euro zone debt crisis. The bailouts seemed to inflame already strained relations between creditor nations in the north with its indebted southern nations.

'Wrong ideas and wrong manner'

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa has repeatedly urged Dijsselbloem to resign since the head of the euro area's finance ministers made his comments at the end of March.

"Portugal (and) the Portuguese government maintains everything that has been said since the moment Dijsselbloem expressed the wrong ideas and wrong manner," Felix added.

When asked whether enough time had passed for Felix to consider sharing a beer with Dijsselbloem, Felix responded, "I never went for a beer with Dijsselbloem or any other members so I would say that it is an institutional relation (and) this institutional relation will be preserved. Portugal and Europe has many other more important issues to discuss."

Dijsselbloem has since apologized and expressed his "regret" for any upset caused by his remarks.

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