Eurogroup head expresses regret over remarks, won’t step down

Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem arrives at EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem expressed regret on Wednesday for a German newspaper interview but said he would not step down after Portuguese prime minister called for his resignation over what he called “xenophobic” remarks.

“I regret it if one is offended by the remark. It was direct, and can be explained from strict Dutch, Calvinistic culture, with Dutch directness,” Dijsselbloem said.

“I understand that this is not always well understood and appreciated, elsewhere in Europe. That is another lesson I take on board,” he said.

“At the same time, I think I am appreciated for keeping my own style and that I with some strictness I address all ministers, and I have to be strict sometimes. And yes, my style is direct and again if people take offense in that I am sorry of course,” he said. “I have no intention to step down.”

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)