June 25, 2024

Kilkenny’s Phil Hogan could be ‘Britain’s saviour’ – report

KILKENNY’S Phil Hogan, recently selected as the EU’s chief trade negotiator, could prove to be the British government’s best friend when it comes to hammering out a trade deal.

That’s the expert view of The Irish Times political columnist Stephen Collins. He argues the Kilkenny man, despite his typically blunt criticism of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Brexiteer allies, is the best possible person for them to do business with.

Collins writes: “Hogan’s pivotal role in the trade negotiations could well turn out to be a positive development all round once the British side sorts out the internal politics at Westminster and gets down to real negotiations. The bottom line is that Ireland has a far greater interest than any other EU country in the emergence of a deal that allows trade between the UK and the EU keep moving as freely as possible.

“Hogan, who has proved himself a consummate politician at European level, is well aware of that, despite his impatience at the antics of Johnson and his allies. His basic approach to politics is that a deal can always be done no matter how unpromising the circumstances appear.”

Collins also quoted an EU official who summed up the position succinctly: “From a British point of view, Hogan is a far better guy to be dealing with than a Frenchman who would probably be quite happy to see the UK sink beneath the waves or somebody from the other side of Europe who wouldn’t be affected one way or another by what happens.”


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