Mário Centeno in front line for Bank of Portugal top job
Rumours are swirling in Lisbon that Eurogroup president and Portugal’s Minister of Finance, Mário Centeno is the favourite for the top job at the Bank of Portugal.
He would replace the much criticised current Bank of Portugal president Carlos Costa who has been nicknamed “Mr. Magoo” by the Portuguese press and comedians for failing to spot and intervene over a glaring number of financial scandals which have rocked both the banking sector and some leading companies in Portugal.
TV commentator, lawyer and one-time president of the PSD party, Luís Marques Mendes in his weekly analysis said that in January Centeno had already informally told his colleagues — the other EU ministers of finance — that he would not reapply for his post leading Eurogroup.
On Sunday the political commentator added that he was certain that the Minister of Finance was on his way out from the Government to the Bank of Portugal (BdP). Carlos Costa’s largely rudderless mandate at the helm of the Bank of Portugal will end in July.
On Thursday last week, the day on which the State Budget 2020 was approved, Centeno trumpeted the expected budget surplus laid out in the document, but criticised the centre-right PSD opposition over measures they had proposed for reducing VAT on electricity by trying to push them through with an alliance with the left-wing parties saying: “It seems there’s no fame without fuss”. “The largest opposition party has tired to create a ‘gerincoisa*” (a thingumajig) he said during a final Government presentation in the Portuguese parliament. (*The PSD party has dubbed the PS party’s first mandate to form a government with the help of the left wing parties in parliament as a ‘Geringonça’ or ‘jalopy’ .. meaning a horse-traded hotchpotch of unlikely bedfellows.
The minister stated that he is “totally focused” on his job functions at the Ministry of Finance and that maintaining a “budget surplus of 0.2% of GDP is what is important.”