Jeroen Dijsselbloem: “Mário Centeno was, from the first day, a very serious colleague”

Asked by "TSF" about the alleged comparisons to a second Yanis Varoufakis, the former president of the Eurogroup said he did not find the criticism fair. However, he believes that the resigned finance minister has not yet overcome dogmas about austerity.

Yves Herman / Reuters

Former Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem considers that Mário Centeno's mandate as leader of a group of finance ministers in the eurozone “has been a period with its specific complexities” and says that his colleague has done “constructive” work.

However, he believes that the resigned finance minister has yet to overcome the Eurogroup's dogma about austerity. "I followed his budgetary policy very closely, and he kept a very limited budget in Portugal," said the former head of the Dutch finance ministry, in interview to “TSF”.

Asked by radio about Mário Centeno's alleged comparisons to a second Yanis Varoufakis, Jeroen Dijsselbloem said he did not find the criticism fair. I don't think that was ever true. Mário Centeno was from the first day, a very serious colleague, who took on commitments and shared responsibility for the Eurogroup, very seriously, ”he said.

The former president of the Eurogroup also said that "some people say that it is even more difficult to manage a group like the Eurogroup if there is no crisis" because there is no sense of acting urgently - taking action and making decisions immediately.

“During the crisis years, of course, there was an enormous amount of urgency. We needed to act. We needed to build a banking union. We needed to set up the European Stability Mechanism. We needed to design and negotiate programs with different countries, ”he recalled.

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