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Eurogroup chief Mario Centeno says no political reason behind quit decision

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By Isabel Silva, Joanna Gill
Euronews Brussels interview with Eurogroup president Mario Centeno, 17 June 2020
Euronews Brussels interview with Eurogroup president Mario Centeno, 17 June 2020   -   Copyright  Euronews Brussels   -  

Mario Centeno, who leads the Eurogroup of Eurozone finance ministers, said his decision to step down had no specific political reason.

He told Euronews it was simply the "end of a cycle". His tenure was due to end and he decided not to apply for a second term, he claimed.

"I think we achieved a lot during the last two years," he said.

EU leaders will meet later this week to discuss the trillion-euro fund to finance Europe's coronavirus recovery plan.

Centeno said there would not be the strict "troika-like" conditions imposed on EU countries to access the funds.

That is thought to be a reference to the austerity measures imposed on the likes of Greece for a bailout after the financial crisis of 2008.

Centeno said access to recovery cash will be dependent on plans to invest in green and digital initiatives.

The proposed rescue package contains a €750 billion recovery fund and a trillion-euro EU budget.

Issues remain over the final figure, how it will be distributed and how the EU will raise the cash.

MEPs are calling on EU leaders to think beyond national borders, especially when it comes to the common currency.

"It is a solidarity matter but it is not only about that," said Spanish MEP Iratxe García.

'We are also talking about the single market and the euro's survival."

For the first time since the plan was announced, EU leaders will meet virtually on Friday to iron out some of the divisions.

No deal is expected this time but a breakthrough could be on cards in July.