Maria Luís Albuquerque

Maria Luís Albuquerque
Maria Luís Albuquerque.png
Minister of Finance
In office
2 July 2013 – 26 November 2015
Prime MinisterPedro Passos Coelho
Preceded byVítor Gaspar
Succeeded byMário Centeno
Personal details
Born (1967-09-16) 16 September 1967 (age 51)
Braga, Portugal
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Alma materLusíada University
Technical University of Lisbon

Maria Luís Albuquerque (born 16 September 1967 in Braga) is a Portuguese politician. She served as Minister of State and Finance between 2013 and 2015.

Early life and education[]

Albuquerque is married and has three children. She graduated in Economics in 1991 from Universidade Lusíada, in Lisbon, and holds a Masters degree (1997) in Monetary and Financial Economics from ISEG, Technical University of Lisbon.

Career[]

Albuquerque worked at the Directorate General of Treasury from 1996 to 1999; at the office of Higher Technical Studies and Economic Forecasts of the Ministry of Economy from 1999 to 2001 and as an advisor to the Secretary of State for Treasury and Finance in 2001. Between 2001 and 2007 she was Director of the Department of Financial Management of REFER, the railway infrastructure public company. From 2007 to 2011 she was Head of Issuing and Markets Department at the Portuguese Debt Management Agency. She was a lecturer at Universidade Lusíada between 1991 and 2006.

At the XIX Constitutional Government, Maria Luís Albuquerque became Secretary of State for Treasury and Finance between June 2011 and October 2012 and Secretary of State for Treasury between October 2012 and June 2013. In such capacity, she followed Eurogroup and Ecofin matters as alternate to the then Minister of State and Finance.

Minister of State and Finance, 2013-2015[]

Albuquerque’s appointment was followed by the resignation of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paulo Portas, who had openly criticized her nomination.[1] Questions were raised after she denied that the Government had been informed about "swap" operations performed under the Government of Prime Minister José Sócrates, while the former Minister of Finance, Vitor Gaspar, admitted that he had been informed.[citation needed] She is only the second woman to hold the office of finance minister in Portugal,[2] after Manuela Ferreira Leite.

As Finance Minister, Albuquerque has been supporting the reform program advocated by Portugal’s crors and put in place by Gaspar.[3] In January 2015, she announced that Portugal would follow Ireland with an early repayment of bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund after borrowing costs fell and the country was able to sell 30-year bonds.[4] At the time, Portugal’s economy was growing again after a three-year recession caused by a debt crisis and austerity.[5]

Also, Albuquerque bolstered Portugal's bank resolution fund (Fundo de Resolução) in 2014 by earmarking 5.4 billion euros in Treasury loans. In early August 2014, she spent 4.9 billion euros to rescue Banco Espírito Santo, the country's second-largest lender, mostly from public funds. The bank was split into a regular bank called Novo Banco and a "bad bank" that inherited unserviced debt.[6]

In her position as finance minister, Albuquerque also served as a Member of the Board of Governors at the African Development Bank,[7] the European Stability Mechanism and the European Investment Bank.

Following the 2014 European elections, it was believed that Passos Coelho was going to nominate Luís Albuquerque as Portugal’s member of the European Commission, a job that eventually went to Carlos Moedas. At the time, there was speculation in the Portuguese press that Luís Albuquerque was not nominated because Jean-Claude Juncker would not guarantee her a weighty portfolio in the Commission.[8]

Life after politics[]

Following her party's defeat at the 2015 national elections, Luís Albuquerque left her office as finance minister and became a non-executive director at Arrow Global, a UK-based provider of debt purchase and receivables management solutions.[citation needed] She joined the company's Audit & Risk Committee.[citation needed]

In June 2016, Luís Albuquerque made headlines when she wrote in an article published in business daily Jornal de Negócios that "it is public knowledge that Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) granted large loans in the past, without sufficient guarantees and using practices that are difficult to justify to the public interest." Shortly after, Portugal's government ordered an independent audit of the country's largest bank, state-owned CGD.[9]

References[]

Political offices
Preceded by
Vítor Gaspar
Minister of Finance
2013–2015
Succeeded by
Mário Centeno