herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Hogan still to find out which plum EU job will be his

PHIL Hogan won't find out what EU post he is to be appointed to until the autumn.

A delay in deciding upon some of the top jobs in the EU means the allocation of European Commissioners' roles will be postponed.

The former Environment Minister is being linked with the Agriculture Commissioner's post but is not certain of getting the plum position.

EU leaders were supposed to decide who would get the role of foreign policy chief last week. The position is held by a member of the European Commission. But no decision was taken on the identity of the new European High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs.

As a result, the rest of the positions have now been held up.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has lobbied for Mr Hogan to receive either the agriculture or trade portfolio - both heavy-hitting positions.

Mr Kenny is hopeful Ireland will hold an influential position in the new European Commission, which will be in office for the next five years.

But the delay over the foreign policy post is causing a complication, which also impacts upon Ireland's chances. Last week, several member states refused to accept the candidacy of Italian foreign affairs minister, Federica Mogherini as the EU foreign policy commissioner.

Poland and a number of Balkan states said her tone towards Russia is too conciliatory, particularly at a time when 
the EU is ramping up its 
efforts to end hostilities in Ukraine.

position

Following the impasse, there was speculation the Italians may demand the agriculture portfolio as an alternative to the foreign policy position.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has written to Mr Kenny asking for him to remove Mr Hogan's name as Ireland's nominee for the EU role.

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy claimed Mr Hogan was unsuitable for the position.

Mr Carthy said Mr Hogan was responsible for implementing several aspects of the Government's "austerity agenda".

"I have listened to some commentators talk about the need for MEPs to 'wear the green jersey' but I contend that the government, if it insists on nominating Phil Hogan, will be putting the interests of Fine Gael ahead of those of the country.

"I am therefore calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to 
save Ireland a lot of embarrassment by nominating somebody who will inspire the confidence of the people of this state and across Europe," he said.

Mr Kenny nominated 
Mr Hogan in the Cabinet reshuffle.

hnews@herald.ie

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