New eurozone chief Centeno wants closer unity, fewer crises

The euro currency zone's new leader says he hopes to use his term to bring the 19 countries that use the currency closer together and make them more resistant to crises.

Outgoing leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Netherlands formally handed over power Friday of the so-called eurogroup — in the form of a symbolic bell — to Portugal's Mario Centeno in a ceremony in Paris. Centeno's mandate starts Saturday.

Centeno said "we have a unique window of opportunity to deepen monetary union, making our common currency more resilient against future crises."

The eurogroup brings together finance ministers of the 19 eurozone countries and was at the forefront of fighting debt crises in recent years. Centeno takes over at a time when the eurozone is in far better shape.