Italy backs the Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno for the Presidency of the Eurogroup, Reuters reported on Wednesday citing a government source.
The candidacy of Pier Carlo Padoan is weak since the President of the European Central Bank, the President of the European Parliament, and the head of Europe’s External Action Service are Italian. Moreover, Italy is expected to go to the polls early next year and Padoan could find himself leaving the government.
Centeno is the minister of finance of a wide left coalition, led by the Socialists, and can count on the support of Social Democrats and Southern Europe.
The North-South divide of the Eurogroup has been made explicit by the current President, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The Dutch politician who failed to be re-elected as an MP will be remembered for his seemingly racist and sexist remark in March 2017, when he said that Southern European countries were like a man who spent his money on ‘women and drink.’