Mario Centeno, new governor of the Banco de Portugal

Lisbon correspondent



The former President of the Eurogroup and former Minister of Finance, Mario Rye, is the new governor of the Banco de Portugal at 53 years old, as approved by the Council of Ministers this Thursday, July 16. It was an open secret that the position was reserved for him «Ronaldo of the European economy», As the German Wolfgang Schäuble once defined it, and even the controversy raised has not stopped the official appointment.

Indeed, we are facing one of the most blatant cases of 'revolving doors' across the border. Much more because it has materialized with absolute clarity on the part of the socialist government. So much so that from the most belligerent sectors of the conservatives of the CDS and PSD came to speak of "premeditation and treachery."

But it is not a matter of interpretations or speculations, but of a consummation forged in record time that has led Centeno to leave the Executive behind and change functions in little more than a month. And all because his term as head of the Eurogroup expired on July 12 because, otherwise, his jump from one office to another would have occurred more quickly, if possible.

The protests of those who clamored against the operation hatched from the Sao Bento Palace have been of no use, not only to find a way out for the strong man of the management of finances in Portugal, but to to guard a key institution, until today headed by the controversial Carlos Costa (70 years old), who has remained in the position for a decade and has starred in numerous strips and loosens, with his role in question when dealing with moments of crisis such as the bankruptcy of the Espírito Santo Bank.

The proof that, in the midst of the onslaught of the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the socialist cabinet was struggling to take positions at the Banco de Portugal to relaunch activity according to the design of its strategy is that it will be Monday when Mario Centeno takes hold in his new chair. In other words, without delay, the Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, has just admitted that "Portugal cannot afford another confinement this winter because it would barely resist it from the economic point of view."

All in all, the rush of the Socialists had to do fundamentally with a determining factor: next week he will be admitted to Parliament a bill for the Animal Party that seeks to vary the rules for the appointment of the Governor of Portugal, according to which a transfer to office from a ministry will no longer be possible, as it is currently happening.

But, since Centeno's inauguration will be a fact on Monday morning, when the report is incorporated into the Assembly of the Republic, the transfer will have already been executed and therefore, the review will not take effect until the next opportunity. Something like "we-validate-it-today-but-we-close-the-door-so-it-happens-again-tomorrow-."

The document on the change in this regulation will be supported, yes, by the relevant authorization from the European Central Bank, which is not binding but does have a great influence on its final approval.

Consequently, everything calculated from the government leadership so that the curriculum of the 'Ronaldo' sector continues on its successful path, despite the fact that now had the votes against the CDS, the Bloco de Esquerda, the Liberal Initiative, the Animalist Party and the PSD deputy Álvaro Almeida individually.


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