Europe

Eurozone chief defends himself in Dutch newspaper interview

  • Eurozone chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem speaks at a press conference following a meeting of European finance ministers, in Valletta, Malta, Friday, April 7, 2017. Greece and its international creditors took a big step Friday toward an agreement that will ensure the cash-strapped country gets the money it needs in time to avoid a potential bankruptcy this summer. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)

    Eurozone chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem speaks at a press conference following a meeting of European finance ministers, in Valletta, Malta, Friday, April 7, 2017. Greece and its international creditors took a big step Friday toward an agreement that will ensure the cash-strapped country gets the money it needs in time to avoid a potential bankruptcy this summer. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)  (The Associated Press)

  • Eurozone chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, left, and Director-General for Economic Affairs and Competitiveness Carsten Pillath attend a meeting of European finance ministers, in Valletta, Malta, Friday, April 7, 2017. The chief of the eurozone said Friday that he was "in a positive mood" about a breakthrough in Greece's difficult bailout talks, but stressed an overall political deal could not be reached at Friday's meeting of finance ministers using the shared currency. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)

    Eurozone chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, left, and Director-General for Economic Affairs and Competitiveness Carsten Pillath attend a meeting of European finance ministers, in Valletta, Malta, Friday, April 7, 2017. The chief of the eurozone said Friday that he was "in a positive mood" about a breakthrough in Greece's difficult bailout talks, but stressed an overall political deal could not be reached at Friday's meeting of finance ministers using the shared currency. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)  (The Associated Press)

  • Belgian Finance Minister Johan VanOvertveldt, left, and Eurozone chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem greet eachother ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers, in Valletta, Malta, Friday, April 7, 2017. Dijsselbloem said Friday that he was "in a positive mood" about a breakthrough in Greece's difficult bailout talks, but stressed an overall political deal could not be reached at Friday's meeting of finance ministers using the shared currency. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)

    Belgian Finance Minister Johan VanOvertveldt, left, and Eurozone chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem greet eachother ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers, in Valletta, Malta, Friday, April 7, 2017. Dijsselbloem said Friday that he was "in a positive mood" about a breakthrough in Greece's difficult bailout talks, but stressed an overall political deal could not be reached at Friday's meeting of finance ministers using the shared currency. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)  (The Associated Press)

The eurozone's top official has defended himself in a newspaper interview after weeks of harsh criticism for comments he made in a March interview with a German paper, saying "it looks like I committed a war crime."

Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been under fire from countries in southern Europe over the German interview in which he said: "I cannot spend all my money on liquor and women and then ask for your support," in reference to European countries that needed state bailouts.

In comments published Monday by De Volkskrant newspaper, Dijsselbloem says "fatigue may have played a role" in his choice of words, but adds "it was my way of expressing that solidarity is not charity."

He says the anger at the comments is "anger at eight years of crisis policy."