Portugal proposes its finance minister as eurozone chief

FILE In this Feb. 5 2016 file photo, Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno addresses journalists at the finance ministry in Lisbon. Portugal's government said Thursday, Nov. 30 2017, that it has put forward its finance minister Mario Centeno as a candidate to become head of the group of 19 countries which share the euro currency. The eurogroup chief chairs meetings between the eurozone finance ministers and is a high-profile public figure. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, File)

LISBON, Portugal - Portugal's government says it has put forward its finance minister Mario Centeno as a candidate to become head of the group of 19 countries which share the euro currency.

The centre-left Socialist government said in a brief statement Thursday that Harvard-educated Centeno will run in the eurogroup election next week.

The eurogroup chief chairs meetings between the eurozone finance ministers and is a high-profile public figure.

Centeno took office in the Portuguese government that came to power in December 2015 and pointedly reversed numerous austerity policies the country was forced to adopt after needing a 78-billion-euro ($92 billion) bailout in 2011 to avoid bankruptcy.

Centeno blamed austerity for causing a three-year recession before he took office. Portugal's economy is thriving again, with growth forecast to reach 2.3 per cent this year.


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