Margarida Marques: “Mário Centeno could be the next European Finance minister”

  • ECO News
  • 11 September 2017

Margarida Marques, former Portuguese State secretary, left some advice for the 2018 State Budget: it needs to "continue to respect the European goals".

The Portuguese Socialist deputy Margarida Marques was, until July of this year, the State secretary for European Affairs. While she was in office, one year ago, Portugal went through the difficult sanctions period, but she was also able to witness Portugal leaving the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). In an interview to ECO, as a deputy, she leaves a warning for the upcoming State Budgets: “The worse thing that could happen to Portugal would be to re-enter the EDP“.

Margarida Marques, Portuguese Socialist Party deputy, is interviewed by ECO. Paula Nunes / ECO

One of the most controversial issues the deputy had to manage while in office was the Portuguese application to receive the EU Medicines Agency, a process which will end before October, when the European Commission announces their choice. “The EU Medicines Agency is a very important agency both because of what it represents for science and education, and also for its size and resources it catalyses for the market”, Margarida Marques explains. It might not be easy for Portugal to welcome the agency because there are many countries which don’t already host an European agency. She believes both Lisbon and Oporto have “advantages and inconvenients”, but “Oporto’s proposal meets all the necessary criteria”.

The deputy explains there are more advantages for Portugal, “namely concerning investment”, in having left the EDP. In addition, leaving the Procedure “creates a better international recognition and that is important for accessing financial markets”, Margarida Marques stated. “But leaving the EDP does not mean we no longer need to comply with our goals”. The socialist deputy believes the 2018 Budget preparations need to have the same level of strictness that the previous two had, because “the worse thing that could happen to Portugal would be to re-enter the EDP“.

"The example given in the past two years helps us understand the Government’s progression and seriousness both for national and European commitments.”

Margarida Marques

Socialist deputy

ECO asked Margarida Marques if she thought the Portuguese Finance minister Mário Centeno could make it to Eurogroup president. The deputy agreed, and stated her peers “saw his ability and commitment to dealing with an European framework and European rulings, having shown great leadership and strength in all difficulties”. Margarida Marques believes Centeno “clearly has the ability to become the European Finance minister”, adding that many people in Portugal “wanted Mário Centeno to become the European Finance minister or the Eurogroup president”.