For months Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager has subjected Athens to regular dressings-down on the dire state of its finances. Now, with his coalition brought to its knees by a row over budget cuts, Greeks may detect a whiff of hypocrisy.
Even by the standards of the blunt-talking Dutch, De Jager hasn't minced his words in demanding that Greek leaders submit to EU demands for punitive austerity measures - or forget about getting any help to avoid bankruptcy.
So blunt were some of his comments that he helped to provoke a response from the Greek head of state, who normally stays above the rough and tumble of daily politics. "Who are the Dutch?" asked an angry President Karolos Papoulias in February.
Monday's resignation of the Dutch coalition over a failure to agree on budget cuts which are modest compared with those endured by Greeks aroused no sympathy in Athens.
"This serves the Dutch right. They haven't understood that the crisis is pretty much hitting the whole of Europe, not just Greece," said Nikos Karagiannis, 32, a state employee whose pay has been cut 40 percent under the austerity regime.
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