Euro-area finance chiefs told to guard against breakup risk | Business

Portuguese Finance Minister and Eurogroup chief Mario Centeno gives a speech during a press conference following a General Affairs Council meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Feb 17, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

The euro area will inevitably come out of the coronavirus crisis with much higher debt levels and government policy must take care to prevent this threatening the currency bloc with fragmentation, one of the region’s most senior finance officials said.

In a letter sent to European finance ministers and seen by Bloomberg, Eurogroup President Mario Centeno cautioned his peers that the budgetary costs of the pandemic will be commensurate with the “colossal shock” of the outbreak.

The way the euro area deals with this higher debt burden will determine “the shape and the extent of the recovery, and, ultimately, the cohesion of the euro area,” Centeno wrote in the letter dated March 30 and sent ahead

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