Ireland’s representative on the European Commission Phil Hogan has said he is pleased to be nominated as the Commissioner for Trade.
Hogan has been Commissioner for Agriculture for the last five years, a portfolio that will be handed to Poland’s Janusz Wojciechowski.
On the new role of trade, Hogan said: “This is undoubtedly one of the most important economic portfolios in the College of Commissioners and the appointment comes at a very important time for the European Union and for Ireland.”
One in every seven jobs in the EU is supported by the export of goods and services and Hogan called international trade “the lifeline of the EU economy”.
The Kilkenny native has been closely involved with EU trade policy during his time as agricultural commissioner, during which time a deal was finalised with Japan and a political agreement struck with Mercosur.
“As a result of our positive trade agenda, the EU has become the largest exporter of agri-food products in the world, with exports of €138bn last year, supporting millions of jobs, many of them in Ireland,” Hogan said.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar congratulated Hogan and described it as a positive development for Ireland as Brexit looms.
“Phil did an excellent job in the agriculture and rural development brief.
"He is widely respected in Brussels and across the EU as a skilled negotiator and someone who builds alliances.
"He has proven to be vociferous on Brexit and I am sure that this will continue in his new role.”
The Taoiseach noted that while Commissioner Hogan would work for Europe as a whole, it was a definite advantage to have an Irish person in charge of trade over the next five years.
He said Hogan would take the lead on the EU’s post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, as well as Mercosur and the EU’s trading relations with India, the US and China.
Polish commissioner will replace Hogan in agriculture
Phil Hogan: what faces the new Trade Commissioner?