PARIS – Portugal’s Finance Minister Mario Centeno attended on Friday a ceremony marking his election to president of the Eurogroup, substituting his former Dutch counterpart who had led the informal body of eurozone finance ministers since 2013.
At a brief act in the Portuguese embassy in Paris, Centeno was given a small bell by the departing Jeroen Dijsselbloem as a symbolic gesture of a transfer of duty.
“I am highly motivated to take on the helm of the Eurogroup,” Centeno said. “We have a unique window of opportunity to deepen monetary union, making our common currency more resilient against future crises,” he added during the ceremony, according to a statement released by the European Council.
Centeno, 51, was one of the driving advocates of anti-austerity measures and salary rises as a way to advance Portugal out of the 2008-2009 economic crisis.
The Eurogroup, which brings together the eurozone’s finance ministers and meets monthly, is to convene for its first session under Centeno on Jan. 22 in Brussels.
Centeno is due to serve as Eurogroup president for 2.5 years.