Mário Centeno for the Eurogroup? “Why not submit an application?”, PM answers

  • ECO News
  • 18 September 2017

When asked if Portugal intended to chair this European Union entity, Portuguese PM António Costa chose to answer with a question: "Why not submit an application?".

Portuguese prime minister António Costa is open to a Portuguese presidency in the Eurogroup, he told the European newspaper Politico. Answering one question with another, the Portuguese PM stated: “Why not submit an application?”.

In a short interview in Politico’s Brussels Playbook, António Costa seemed to be open to that position and commended Jean-Claude Juncker’s choices for the future of Europe, since the Portuguese PM’s “priority” is the “convergence and creating an instrument for convergence” between the EU economies, which would reinforce the euro.

It is not the first time Mário Centeno, as Finance minister, comes up as a possible name for the president of the group of ministers who frequently gather in Brussels, after the current president of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, leaves. The Dutch minister had previously disclosed he intends to end his mandate in January; after that, all that is left to know is who will replace him.

In the end of last week’s Eurogroup meeting, Mário Centeno did not deny the possibility of being a candidate: “We will peacefully participate in this discussion, aiming to bring to Europe and to Portugal the best we have to offer; these are our ideas, this is our participation, and we will be very active in this matter”, he told reporters. When asked about incentives from fellow ministers to send his application, he stated there has been “a set of conversations”, which he has approached with tranquility, but also with great determination.