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Dutch Finance Minister Tells U.S.: ‘Deal With Your Own Problems’

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Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the U.S. to ‘deal with your own problems’ before criticizing European economic policy.

Dijsselbloem, who leads meetings of the euro area’s 18 finance ministers, responded to U.S. Treasury criticism that Germany’s current-account surplus damaged the global economy.

“There’s something strange about the U.S. telling Europe all the time what we’re doing wrong and how we should do it better but I think they have some issues themselves,” Dijsselbloem told reporters after appearing before the European Parliament in Brussels today. “My answer to any question to criticism coming from the U.S. is, ‘Deal with your own problems.’”

Germany’s current-account surplus has exceeded the euro-area’s 6 percent threshold every year since 2007, according to the European Commission, which is due to report next month on a probe it opened into the issue in November.

The U.S. Treasury criticized Germany’s trade surplus in October, blaming it for draining European and global growth. The Washington D.C.-based International Monetary Fund joined the verbal attack in November, with the fund’s First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take action.

“The vast majority of the exports of Germany go outside the euro zone so basically Germany is making money for all of us in Asia, and I hope they continue doing so,” Dijsselbloem told the parliament.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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