Edition 1450
18 November 2017
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Portugal finance minister 'may be candidate for Eurogroup president'

by TPN/ Lusa, in News · 10-08-2017 07:56:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal's finance minister, Mário Centeno, has indicated that there is a possibility of his taking over as president of the Eurogroup, the informal grouping of euro-zone finance ministers, when the current incumbent, Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Netherlands, steps dow

Portugal finance minister 'may be candidate for Eurogroup president'

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In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais in Santander, where he was taking part in a conference at that city's Universidade Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, Centeno was asked whether he "will be a candidate" to the Eurogroup presidency.

In his reply, he was clear about not ruling this out: "I won't say that there is no possibility."

 

In April Portugal's Expresso newspaper reported that Centeno had been among those sounded out as possible candidates for the influential position, prompting a flurry of comments in Portugal and in Brussels.

 

In the El Pais interview, the Portuguese minister also talked about the improving economic situation in Portugal, which he said was thanks to three factors: "cleaning up the financial system... the stabilisation of the banks [and] the political change".

 

The latter was a reference to the programme of the minority Socialist government, which has restored spending power above all for public sector workers since it took office in late 2015.

 

According to Centeno, "at the start things were difficult" so far as relations with the European Commission when the government loosened the purse strings, because the commission saw it "as a government without experience". European Union officials were wrong, he said: "we met the budget targets and exited Excessive Deficit Procedures."

 

EU governments voted in June to end the deficit procedures applied to Portugal since 2009, after the commission had the previous month recommended that they do so.

 

Centeno acknowledged in the El Pais interview, though, that "the work is not ended" where the economic crisis goes. "Reforms need time, even if that isn't the Brussels recipe."

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Edition 1450
18 November 2017
Edition: 1450

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter