Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the group of finance ministers from countries that use the euro, said on Friday that Greeks were wrong to blame Germany for their problems.
Dijsselbloem spoke as Athens and Berlin traded barbs over reparations for the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II and allegations, denied by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, that he had insulted his Greek counterpart.
“The point is that in Greece, too much of the fault for the problems of Greece is laid outside Greece … Germany is the favourite victim of that at the moment,” said Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister.
The new Greek government’s increasingly tetchy relationship with Germany underlines Athens’ frustration over its difficulty persuading EU partners to relax the conditions of its 240 billion euro ($250 billion) bailout, which it says has caused mass unemployment and poverty.
“The Germans have made great effort in recent years precisely to help Greece with cheap loans,” Dijsselbloem said before a cabinet meeting in The Hague.
“The Greeks have themselves said that Germany is their partner and ally, and that’s the way it is in Europe and in NATO too, by the way, so let’s calmly work together in that tone,” he added.