Jeroen Dijsselbloem in 2013
|Member of the House of Representatives|
23 March 2017
20 November 2002 – 5 November 2012
28 March 2000 – 23 May 2002
|President of the Eurogroup|
21 January 2013
|Preceded by||Jean-Claude Juncker|
|Minister of Finance|
5 November 2012
|Prime Minister||Mark Rutte|
|Preceded by||Jan Kees de Jager|
|Leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives
20 February 2012 – 20 March 2012
|Preceded by||Job Cohen|
|Succeeded by||Diederik Samsom|
|Born||Jeroen René Victor Anton Dijsselbloem
29 March 1966
|Political party||Labour Party|
|Domestic partner||Jildau Piena|
|Alma mater||Wageningen University|
Jeroen René Victor Anton Dijsselbloem (Dutch: [jəˈrun rəˈneː ˈvɪktɔr ˈɑntɔn ˈdɛi̯səlblum]; born 29 March 1966) is a Dutch Labour Party politician who has been Minister of Finance since 5 November 2012 and a member of the House of Representatives since 23 March 2017. He has also been President of the Eurogroup since 21 January 2013 and President of the Board of Governors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) since 11 February 2013.
Dijsselbloem studied agricultural economics at Wageningen University (1985–1991). He served as member of the municipal council of Wageningen (1994–1997) and as member of the House of Representatives (2000–2002 and 2002–2012). In 2007, he led a parliamentary inquiry on education reform.
Early life and education
Jeroen René Victor Anton Dijsselbloem was born on 29 March 1966 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. His parents both worked in education, his father as an English teacher and his mother as schoolteacher. He was raised as a Roman Catholic.
Dijsselbloem went to a Roman Catholic primary school in Son en Breugel and the Catholic secondary school Eckartcollege (1978–1985) in Eindhoven. He studied agricultural economics at Wageningen University (1985–1991), majoring in business economics, agricultural policy, and social and economic history, for which he received his academic degree of ingenieur in 1991, which is equivalent to a Master of Science degree. Dijsselbloem did research in business economics at the University College Cork (1991) in Ireland, but he did not receive a degree from this university.
Dijsselbloem’s interest in politics began in 1983, spurred by the mass protests against US Pershing cruise missiles that drew hundreds of thousands of Dutch youth into leftwing movements. In 1985, he became a member of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA).
From 1993 to 1996 he worked for the parliamentary group of the Labour Party. From 1994 to 1996 he was a member of the municipal council of Wageningen. From 1996 to 2000 he worked at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fishery under Minister Jozias van Aartsen and State Secretary Geke Faber.
From 2000 to 2012, Dijsselbloem was a member of parliament for the Labour Party, with a brief interruption after the 2002 general elections where the Labour Party suffered a major defeat. In 2007, he led a parliamentary inquiry on education reform. He focused on matters of youth care, special education and teachers. Following the resignation of Job Cohen as party leader and parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives on 20 February 2012, Dijsselbloem became the interim parliamentary leader, serving until 20 March 2012 when Diederik Samsom was elected as the next party leader of the Labour Party.
Minister of Finance of the Netherlands since 2012
From the start, Dijsselbloem emphasised his commitment to fiscal discipline. On 1 February 2013, he nationalized the financial institution SNS Reaal, preventing its bankruptcy. Shareholders and owners of subordinated debt are expropriated with no compensation and others banks of the country have to contribute to the takeover up to one billion euros.
By December 2013, Dutch press named Dijsselbloem politician of the year 2013, describing him as “intelligent, balanced and good at finding compromises.” In a response, he said that he was surprised about winning the prize because he “does not work on the forefront.”
President of the Eurogroup since 2013
Since 21 January 2013, Dijsselbloem is also the president of the Eurogroup, a grouping of the finance ministers of the Eurozone, those member states of the European Union (EU) which have adopted the Euro as their official currency; he succeeded Jean-Claude Juncker. Spain was the only country not to back his candidacy, on fears that it is being dictated to by 'triple A' countries and because of its own under-representation in EU institutions.
Dijsselbloem struggled early in his 2-1/2 year term and faced criticism for his handling of the "Cyprus bail-in." In March 2013, he took the lead in the negotiation, conclusion and subsequent public promotion of the bailout. He attracted criticism for the precedent of taking depositors' balances as part of bank rescues but said "I’m pretty confident that the markets will see this as a sensible, very concentrated and direct approach instead of a more general approach...It will force all financial institutions, as well as investors, to think about the risks they are taking on because they will now have to realise that it may also hurt them."
On 24 March 2013, the Financial Times and Reuters reported that Dijsselbloem saw the Cyprus bail-in as a template for resolution of a bankruptcy. However, it was the interviewer that had used the word "template" and not Dijsselbloem himself. On 26 March 2013, Dijsselbloem said explicitly that he did not consider the Cyprus case to be a template.
As Eurogroup head, Dijsselbloem later represented European creditors in negotiations with Greece over its bailout packages following Syriza's victory in the January 2015 legislative election. Initially the Greek government formed by Syriza and the Independent Greeks pursued bilateral talks with creditors and later the Eurogroup agreed on an extension of the bailout for four months. The negotiations for a new bailout package failed to meet the deadline for a €1.1 bn repayment to the IMF on midnight 1 July 2015 (Athens time). After the 5 July Greek referendum in which the then outstanding bailout offer from the Eurogroup was rejected by 61% of voters, a crisis summit was held on 12 July to negotiate Greece's new bailout request. Ahead of the summit, Dijsselbloem questioned whether the Greek proposals were credible.
A deal for a new bailout package between the parties was finally agreed on Monday 13 July. During the debate on the third bailout agreement in the Tweede Kamer on 15 July, Dijsselbloem criticised the Syriza government as ideologues, saying that their "every sentence had ideological baggage".
In August 2014, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her backing to Spain's economy minister, Luis de Guindos, in his bid to succeed Dijsselbloem as head of the Eurogroup from 2015; De Guindos is a member of the same center-right political European People’s Party political bloc. Meanwhile, on 5 June 2015, Dijsselbloem announced he would seek a second term, prompting de Guindos saying he would mount a challenge. In a subsequent letter requesting that he be reappointed to serve another two-and-a-half years as Eurogroup chair, Dijsselbloem pledged that he would push for eurozone-wide social and fiscal reforms designed to promote the smooth functioning of the currency union. Once he picked up 10 votes at a Eurogroup meeting in July 2015, the remaining countries decided to vote unanimously for a second term.
In June 2015, Dijsselbloem – alongside Mario Draghi of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission, and Donald Tusk at the European Council – issued the so-called “Five Presidents' Report” on the future of the European monetary union, including proposals that mostly echoed calls by Germany and other northern eurozone countries to enforce spending rules across the eurozone.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung interview controversy
In March 2017, he told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung "As a Social Democrat, I attribute exceptional importance to solidarity. But those who call for it also have duties. I cannot spend all my money on drinks and women and then hold my hand up for help. That principle applies on a personal, local, national and also on a European level." while referring to Southern European countries affected by the European Debt Crisis.
This statement led to strong reactions by many European figures, as Gianni Pitella, head of the Socialist group in the European Parliament (to which Dijsselbloem's party belongs) said "There is no excuse or reason for using such language, especially from someone who is supposed to be a progressive".
Manfred Weber, leader of the European People's Party group, tweetted "Eurozone is about responsibility, solidarity but also respect. No room for stereotypes". The Portuguese Prime-Minister, António Costa, said his words were "racist, xenophobic and sexist" and that "Europe will only be credible as a common project on the day when Mr. Dijsselbloem stops being Head of the Eurogroup and apologises clearly to all the countries and peoples that were profoundly offended by his remarks". Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also called on Dijsselbloem to quit, saying that "If he wants to offend Italy, he should do it in a sports bar back home, not in his institutional role".
In a reaction Dijsselbloem said: "Everyone knows that I didn’t say that all southern Europeans spend their money on drinks and women. That’s not what was in the interview and it wasn't my message. The anger about the interview is anger about eight years of policies to deal with the crisis. [...] I would have rephrased it otherwise probably. But it was my way of making clear that solidarity is not charity. It's not for nothing that the aid programs of the European emergency fund are accompanied by strict conditions: You get very cheap loans provided you take action to restore order. That is an important principle. For the ones who keep zooming in on those two words my message might be inconvenient. [...] It won't end well with the eurozone if we keep breaking our previous agreements. [...] My choice of words was not right, I'm sorry if you took offense, but I'm still behind the message."
- (in Dutch) Ir. J.R.V.A. (Jeroen) Dijsselbloem, Parlement & Politiek; retrieved 3 February 2013.
- Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the Eurogroup, Eurozone Portal, 2013; retrieved on 4 April 2013.
- (in Greek) Οι ...μέθοδοι χρηματοδότησης Ιρλανδικών γαλακτοκομείων του κ. Ντάισελμπλουμ, Kathimerini, 31 March 2013; retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Dutch Finance Minister amends Cork University degree error, Irish Independent, 14 April 2013; retrieved 1 February 2015.
- Matt Steinglass and Peter Spiegel, "Jeroen Dijsselbloem, eurozone reformer", Financial Times, 2013.
- (in Dutch) "'Alle ministers zijn nu bekend'", NOS.nl, 2012.(in Dutch)
- "Rutte II: 'alle namen van het nieuwe kabinet'", RTL.nl, 2012.(in Dutch)
- David Jolly & Jack Ewing, Dutch Government Takes Control of SNS Reaal, New York Times, 2013' retrieved 3 February 2013.
- "Les Pays-Bas nationalisent la quatrième banque du pays". lexpress.fr (in French). Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Anouk van Kampen, "Dijsselbloem verkozen tot politicus van het jaar", NRC Handelsblad, 15 December 2013. (in Dutch)
- Marc Peeperkorn, ""Hoe Juncker wraak nam op Dijsselbloem na opmerking over drankgebruik", Volkskrant.nl, 2014.(in Dutch)
- Juncker hints Dijsselbloem will replace him as Eurogroup chief Archived 14 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Europolitics.info, 10 January 2013
- Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a tough chairman for the Eurogroup, Presseurop.eu, 21 January 2013
- Robin Emmott, "Spain to bid for euro zone chair in challenge to Dijsselbloem", Reuters, 2015.
- Murphy, Paul, "Dijsselbloem, do remember that careless talk costs lives ...", ftalphaville.ft.com, 25 March 2013. The footnote to the headline read "*See classic Fougasse cartoons for an illustration of this point"; the ellipsis in the headline was completed with "... and it’s really about time it cost you your job.**"; and the second footnote read "**Though it’s unlikely that he’s going to lose it, so long as he has Germany’s support." The post was "[p]art of the A Cypriot Precedent series"; retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Cyprus bail-out: savers will be raided to save euro in future crises, says eurozone chief, The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Dijsselbloem en de blauwdruk/template", Mrwonkish.nl; retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "Cyprus Program Isn't Template for Euro-Area Rescues, EU Says", Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Toby Sterling, "Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem still seeking re-election", Reuters, 2015.
- The Guardian, "Greece's Yanis Varoufakis begins European talks in France", 1 February 2015; retrieved 12 October 2015.
- Suzanne Lynch, "Greece, Eurogroup agree to four month bailout extension", Irish Times, 20 February 2015; retrieved 12 October 2015.
- "Greece debt crisis: IMF payment missed as bailout expires", bbc.com, 1 July 2015; retrieved 12 October 2015.
- "Greece debt crisis: Greek voters reject bailout offer", bbc.com, 6 July 2015; retrieved 12 October 2015.
- Steinhauser, Gabriele; Fairless, Tom (8 July 2015). "Greece Requests Three-Year Bailout in First Step Toward Meeting Creditors' Demand". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Andreas Rinke and Francesco Guarascio, "Greece's bailout plan might not be good enough for a deal", Business Insider, 12 July 2015; retrieved 12 October 2015.
- BBC News, "Greece debt crisis: Eurozone summit strikes deal", 13 July 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
- Merijn Oudenampsen, "Dit zijn de verzwegen dogma's van Jeroen Dijsselbloem, pragmaticus pur sang", 21 July 2015; retrieved 12 October 2015.(in Dutch)
- "Merkel backs Spain economy minister to lead Eurogroup", RTÉ News and Current Affairs, 25 August 2014.
- Toby Sterling, "Netherlands' Dijsselbloem seeks second term as Eurogroup president", Reuters, 2015.
- Thomas Escritt, "Dijsselbloem promises closer EMU integration if re-appointed", Reuters, 2015.
- Zeke Turner, "Dijsselbloem secures second term", Politico Europe, 2015.
- Florian Eder and Zeke Turner (21 June 2015), "Five horsemen of the euro's future", Politico Europe; accessed 31 May 2017.
- "Dijsselbloem under fire after saying eurozone countries wasted money on 'alcohol and women'". ft.com. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Head of Eurogroup in 'drinks and women' row". Sky News. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- Editorial, Reuters. "Portugal PM demands Dijsselbloem step down over "xenophobic" remarks". Reuters UK. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Renzi calls on Eurogroup chief to quit over ‘drinks and women’ comment". ft.com. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "How Jeroen Dijsselbloem became Mr Euro from being virtually unknown", The Economic Times, 13 July 2015
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jeroen Dijsselbloem.|
- Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the Eurogroup at the European Council website
- Jeroen Dijsselbloem at Government of the Netherlands website
- (in Dutch) Jeroen Dijsselbloem at the Labour Party website
|Party political offices|
|Leader of the Labour Party
in the House of Representatives
Jan Kees de Jager
|Minister of Finance
|President of the Eurogroup