Portugal's finance minister was on Monday elected to be the new president of the Eurogroup, the informal meeting of finance ministers of European Union member states.

Mario Centeno, 50, is to assume the two-and-a-half-year role next month, taking over from the incumbent president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister.

The center-left economist fended off competition from Luxembourg, Slovakia and Latvia and took the required simple majority of the vote, that is to say at least 10 of the 19 eurozone ministers.

Centeno has served as Portugal's finance minister since 2015 in the Socialist Party government of António Costa despite not being a member of that party.

The Harvard-educated lawmaker won praise for his role in Portugal's economic recovery.