Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem is seen before his meeting with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (not pictured) at the Finance ministry in Athens, Greece September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
October 9, 2017
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Dutchman Jeroen Dijsselbloem will continue as president of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers until his term expires in January even though he will no longer be the finance minister of the Netherlands, he said on Monday.
The Eurogroup, an informal body that plays a key role in shaping the economic policy of the 19-country currency bloc, will vote for a new chairman at a meeting in December, Dijsselbloem said.
Dijsselbloem’s Labor party (PvdA) is not a part of Dutch coalition negotiations which are expected to be completed in the coming weeks, but he asked other euro zone finance ministers whether he could complete his term.
“There was unanimous support for that. Everybody was content with me staying on until mid-January,” Dijsselbloem told a news conference in Luxembourg at the end of a meeting of euro zone ministers.
Dijsselbloem has held the post of Eurogroup president since 2013, helping to steer the currency union through its worst crisis since its creation in 1999, taking a firm stance in favor of fiscal discipline among euro zone members.
He caused controversy when he suggested in an interview that southern EU states could not expect aid if they squandered their money on “booze and women”, triggering a furious reaction from Portugal, Italy, Spain and Greece.
The vote for a new Eurogroup president could be complicated by national and political party interests as the EU also needs to fill other top jobs.
Eurogroup members have so far always been sitting ministers.
(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Foo Yun Chee and Catherine Evans)