Portugal has all the necessary instruments to respond to corona - finance minister

Mario Centeno, the outgoing Eurogroup’s President, in his last interview as Portugal’s Finance Minister, said the country has “all the necessary instruments” to respond to the Coronavirus crisis. 

“I think we have the tools to respond. We will all have to be very focused and the effort that will be required will be great,” Centeno said in an interview given to Portuguese RTP on Friday, adding that the country has

“We are not facing a crisis that needs reforms in the labor market or reforms in the Public Administration, or that the financial system is unbalanced, as it was in 2008-2011. None of this happens “, the Former Finance Minister highlighted.

As the country is lifting Coronavirus restrictions and kickstarting its economy, Centeno noted that the government was called “to an exercise that has never been tried anywhere, which is to reopen an economy that had meanwhile been ordered to close,” in a bid to avoid vast financial losses that already affect Europe.

As of Monday, Centeno is no longer the country’s Finance Minister, with Joao Leao, former budget secretary of state, succeeding him as Finance Minister.

Last Thursday, Centeno announced his decision to step down as Eurogroup President, and kickstarted the procedures for finding a candidate to take over the position when his tenure ends, scheduled for July 13.

Centeno’s timing of resignation came amid a heated debate over a break in his relations with Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa. However, in the interview, Centeno said bilateral relations have not deteriorated, but remain “healthily tense,” and that rumours around it are “out of context”.

“There is no reason, it is just the cycle. And we have to look at these issues with ease,” Centeno said, adding that his does not have any political ambitions after this post.

Under Centeno’s guidance, Portugal managed to achieve a budget surplus of 0.2% of its GDP in 2019, marking its first surplus since 1975 with state expenditure lower than revenues.


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