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Phil Hogan set to take up key role as EU Trade Commissioner

This follows his renomination as Ireland’s commissioner to the EU earlier this year.

Phil Hogan speaks at the Irish Farmers Journal Navigating Global Trade Conference earlier this year
Phil Hogan speaks at the Irish Farmers Journal Navigating Global Trade Conference earlier this year
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

Updated Tue 11:18 AM

PHIL HOGAN HAS been nominated as the new EU Commissioner for Trade by the President-elect of the European Commission. 

Ursula von der Leyen announced the nomination at a press conference today along with the other roles in the College of Commissioners. One commissioner is assigned from each EU country and the roles have a five-year term. 

The positions announced by von der Leyen are subject to approval from the European Parliament before the Commission is formally appointed. 

It follows Hogan’s renomination by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as Ireland’s commissioner to the EU earlier this year. He was first appointed as EU Agriculture Commissioner by Enda Kenny. 

Varadkar congratulated Hogan on the role in a statement today, saying it is a “definite advantage” to have an Irish person in charge of trade. 

“He has proven to be vociferous on Brexit, and I am sure that this will continue in his new role,” said Varadkar in a statement today. 

Hogan said the position is “undoubtedly one of the most important economic portfolios” in the Commission and that trade is a political priority for the European Commission. 

“The Commissioners are the centre of my team,” said von der Leyen today. “I want this Commission to be a flexible, a modern, an agile commission.” 

She said that Hogan is known as a “hard and a fair negotiator”. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Hogan said the President-elect has a “major agenda” in terms of the climate and has a “great determination and energy” in making decisions based on her guidelines. 

Speaking of the 28-year-old Virginijus Sinkevičius from Lithuania who has been nominated as Commissioner for Environment and Oceans, Hogan said that young people have certainly been driving the climate action movement. 

Fine Gael MEPs Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Frances Fitzgerald and Maria Walsh welcomed Hogan’s proposed appointment to the role in a statement today.  

“This is a very important portfolio for both the Union and Ireland and his appointment is a clear recognition of the good work Mr Hogan did as Agriculture Commissioner over the last five years,” said MEP for Ireland South Seán Kelly. 

Tweet by @Ursula von der Leyen Source: Ursula von der Leyen/Twitter

Von der Leyen said she expects the commissioners to visit every EU member state in the first half of their term. Meetings held by the college will be paperless. 

The 59-year-old will take up the position at a crucial time for both the EU and Ireland, with his tenure set to coincide with the UK’s departure from the EU.

In a statement last week, Hogan called for businesses and other stakeholders to prepare for the UK to exit the union without a deal and announced that two EU funds would be used to support businesses, workers and member states most affected by such an outcome.

“I welcome the prioritisation which the Irish government is giving to preparation for a no-deal Brexit and I urge all businesses which trade with the UK to heed the advice provided,” he said.

“The Irish government can be assured that the European Commission will continue to be available to provide any practical assistance that we can.”

- With reporting by Orla Dwyer 

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