September 28, 2023

Big Phil wants to plough on as EU Agriculture Commissioner

EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan has indicated he will seek a second term as Ireland’s member on the European Commission.

The former Kilkenny TD has reportedly left senior figures in Fine Gael in no doubt of his desire to continue in Brussels. This is despite speculation he will face competition from former Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, for the €268,400-a-year post.

The Kilkenny politician has impressed key political figures in Brussels during his term in charge of the agriculture portfolio and he is also credited with performing strongly in talks with US negotiators on the TTIP trade deal.

He developed a close working relationship with Jean-Claude Juncker, the commission president, and Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator during the Brexit negotiations, and he hasn’t shied away from criticising elements of the British political establishment in recent months. At one point he branded Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage as “three stooges” who did not understand the importance of the border issue.

Last week news service said Hogan had launched “a stealth campaign to stay in Brussels” after next year’s European election. It quoted “five senior EU officials and diplomats” as saying he had set his eyes on becoming the next trade commissioner, although he told Politico he wanted to stay in agriculture.

Hogan told Politico: “I’d like to continue the work that I’m doing now on agriculture and rural development and finish the job in terms of the reforms. I’m very happy with the job I’m doing. I find it very rewarding. I have an excellent team and I don’t see any reason why I would want to change.”


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