Enfeebled by his Labour party’s huge losses in the latest national elections, the Eurogroup chief and Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is now under concentrated fire after saying that eurozone countries wasted money on ‘alcohol and women’.

Dijsselbloem told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

During the crisis of the euro, the countries of the North have shown solidarity with the countries affected by the crisis.

As a Social Democrat, I attribute exceptional importance to solidarity. [But] you also have obligations. You can not spend all the money on drinks and women and then ask for help.

He refused to apologise after the comments were picked up by the Spanish press.

Spain’s Finance Minister, Luis de Guindos, led the backlash to the Dutch minister’s comments, despite sharing a seat around the Eurogroup table:

“I do not think that Portugal, Greece, Cyprus or Ireland have wasted money,” he said. “Solidarity is important.”

Portugal’s minister for foreign affairs, Santos Silva, also called on Dijsselbloem to resign.

Gianni Pittella, the Italian MEP who leads the European Socialist group, called for Dijsselbloem to resign, saying he is “not fit to be president of the Eurogroup”.

“I truly wonder whether a person who has these beliefs can still be considered fit to be president of the Eurogroup.”

Most other political groups in the EU Parliament, such as GUE/NGL through its president Gabi Zimmer, have condemned as sexist and xenophobic remarks of Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem that eurozone countries wasted money on ‘alcohol and women’:

“I call on Dijsselbloem to immediately step down as head of the Eurogroup after his shameful remarks in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” said Gabi Zimmer.

“Dijsselbloem does not have the political nor the moral integrity to lead the Eurogroup for his demeaning sexist and xenophobic remarks against southern European countries.”

Dijsselbloem, the Dutch policy chief, watched as his Labour party suffered a punishing defeat in national elections last week but has a mandate as president of the eurogroup until January 2018.