HOGAN’S OUT: EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan will make a statement in half an hour that he’s not standing for WTO Director-General after all.
— Alan Beattie (@alanbeattie) June 29, 2020
More as we get it.
Ireland’s EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has confirmed his candidacy to be the next head of the World Trade Organisation.
And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint…
Speaking in Brussels Mr Hogan said: “I’m exploring the option of being a candidate for the director general of the WTO [World Trade Organisation]
“I think there’s an important amount of work to be done to reform the organisation, to make it more effective and efficient, but also to deal with many of the important trade issues that are bedevilling the international community now arising from Covid-19,” he said.
EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan confirms he is considering putting his name forward as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, meaning the incoming Irish government could find itself with a key European vacancy to fill just as the cabinet jobs are being handed out
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) June 9, 2020
The European Commission has been urged not to soften its stance on EU rules that would outlaw the export of cyber surveillance tools to despotic regimes worldwide, amid ongoing negotiations between the European Council and Parliament on the new measures.
A coalition of EU human rights organisations have penned a letter to European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan, imploring him not to backtrack on the Commission’s original position on the regulation on dual-use goods, which aims to clamp down on exports that can be used in the surveillance of citizens in countries with less than democratic regimes.
Pic via Politik
Ireland’s European Commissioner Phil Hogan, who will be the EU’s lead negotiator in the free trade negotiations with the UK
1/ @PhilHoganEU said the riskiest part of the Brexit process had yet to come and that a “crash-out” Brexit was still a possibility at the end of December.
— Tony Connelly (@tconnellyRTE) January 29, 2020
“I’m very concerned at what I see in Ireland the moment. There’s a lot of complacency in the system. Commentators and the media and the public generally don’t seem to realise we’re starting the most difficult part of the negotiations.
It was easy enough to get some compromises in phase one, relative to the interests of every member state, and the interests now of the UK with an 80 seat majority.
If things had gone wrong in the first part of the negotiations, you can consider in the context of a general election what this would have meant for manifestos in terms of income, in terms of wages, in terms of jobs, the possible economic rupture in terms of a crash out Brexit.
This this is still on the agenda,
The real cut off point is the 31 December 2020, not 31 January. So, people should come out of their slumber is some way and wake up to the reality that we’re in the intensive phase of the negotiations and in the more risky part.”
He’s taking it very well.
Earlier: Britain on The Brink
The Irish Times reports:
European commissioner for trade Phil Hogan has stepped in to address business leaders attending IDA Ireland’s annual dinner at Davos this week, as the Irish contingent at the World Economic Forum (WEF) is shaping up to be the smallest in recent times.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had been due to host the IDA dinner on Thursday for 40-50 international executives at the Swiss Alpine village, but this was cancelled last week as he called a general election for February 8th. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe also cancelled his planned appearance as the campaign got under way.
WEF regulars Bono and Denis O’Brien will also not be attending this year, according to their representatives.
A new report by Oxfam has found that Ireland has 17 billionaires – the fifth highest number of billionaires per capita in the world.
Oxfam launched the study ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos which begins later today.
In its summary, Oxfam writes:
“Economic inequality is out of control. In 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people.
“This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world.”
The report can be read in full here
Former Fine Gael TD and Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan was confirmed as the EU’s next chief trade commissioner.
Further to this…
Jon Stone, in The Independent UK, reports:
The appointment of Phil Hogan to the role of EU trade commissioner for the next five years will see him go up against the UK’s negotiators in talks – if the Brexit process gets that far.
Mr Hogan earlier this year rubbished the UK government’s “global Britain” plan, warning that Britain would become a “medium-sized” nation with reduced bargaining power.
Just last month he accused “unelected” prime minister Boris Johnson of putting “the best interests of the Tory party ahead of the best interests of the UK”.
During Brexit talks he has developed a reputation as the Commission’s attack dog: In June last year he said the tide was going out on the “high priests of Brexit”, suggesting the British public were finally seeing through the “deception and lies” of politicians like Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, who he named.
Previously: Phil Hogan on Broadsheet
Phil Hogan in hearing at EP AGRI committee. I challenged him on Mercosur, he responds that I should be concentrating on Brexit???
For record I work on both issues but this is latest example of his unsuitability for role! pic.twitter.com/NQ1IOjvkZx
— Matt Carthy MEP (@mattcarthy) July 23, 2019
— Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (@lukeming) July 23, 2019
Agricultural Committee, The European Parliament.
More as we get it.
Ireland’s EU Commissioner Phil Hogan with Leo Varadkar in 2012
There had been some speculation in recent days that the former Fine Gael minister and election organiser might lose out due to the anger of Irish farmers over the EU-Mercosur draft deal allowing large quantities of South American meat into European markets.
But today the Cabinet is expected to give the former Kilkenny TD the nod for another five years in the post, which has a salary package of €300,000 per year.
Phil Hogan left Irish politics during recessionary times in 2014, as his name was associated with two new taxes, the ill-starred domestic water charges and the local property tax.
At the Kennedy Summer School in New Ross, Co Wexford.
EU Commissioner and former Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan delivered a speech touching on the topics of Brexit, populism in the EU, America and US President Donald Trump.
He concluded by quoting the late former US president John F Kennedy, saying:
“Courage — not complacency — is our need today. Leadership — not salesmanship. And the only valid test of leadership is the ability to lead, and lead vigorously.”
Mr Hogan’s speech can be read in full here
Pic via Eimear McAuliffe
Previously: Phil Hogan on Broadsheet
From top: Stephen Rea, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan
In the Seanad.
Former Fine Gael Minister for the Environment and Carlow/Kilkenny TD Phil Hogan – who became the European Commissioner for Agriculture in September 2014 amid a string of controversies at the time – addressed the Seanad.
Readers may recall how one of these controversies concerned an Irish Daily Mail front page story in 2012 about how the then Environment Minister had written to some of his constituents in Kilkenny, telling them a Traveller family – Patrick and Brigid Carthy and their seven children – would not be moved to a house near them.
Phoenix magazine later reported that former Irish Independent journalist Eimear Ni Bhraonain had the story for 10 days before the rival paper but her editors held off from printing it and only did so when the Irish Daily Mail was on the verge of publishing it.
Further to this…
During his address to the Seanad, Mr Hogan spoke about “fake news” and praised the Group Editor-in-Chief of Independent News and Media Stephen Rae who was recently appointed to the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Fake News.
Mr Hogan was speaking about Brexit when he praised Mr Rae.
“The EU institutions have been shaken from their slumber. It is noticeable that there is a new energy and a new desire to get things done. In a world of rising nationalism and retrenchment, the EU is occupying the space that has been vacated by others to lead from the front across multiple policy areas.
“The EU is now the unquestioned global leader in promoting open and fair trade that is based on rules. As the Cathaoirleach mentioned, in the past two years we have signed important new deals with Canada, Japan and Singapore. Earlier this week, I was delighted to announce an agreement with Mexico.
“Many of these deals are immensely positive for our agrifood producers and our pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors. This is very good news for Ireland. Size matters in trade. As the world’s leading trading bloc, the EU is in a position of strength to build mutually beneficial agreements with our global partners.
“We are driving the global agenda on climate and sustainability, which remains the single greatest challenge of our time. This country urgently needs to step up its contribution to meeting this challenge. We are trying to relight the flame of Europe’s enlightenment values by making truth and reason relevant again in a world of mistruths and fake news.
“Again, Brexit is important in this context. EU membership was a successful policy in the UK and was accepted as such by the majority of politicians and commentators. That did not stop a majority of people voting to scrap it. That is strange because one thing the Brexit story has shown is that the UK does not – by a long shot – have an alternative policy to EU membership.
“Even Brexiteers are happy to keep one foot in the EU, for example by continuing to participate in security and transport agreements and certain EU agencies. The fact remains that people in the UK voted to leave. As politicians, we might think successful policies always commend themselves, but that is not always the case.
“Successful policies need to be defended, articulated and communicated. Brexit has taught us all a sharp lesson in this regard. We need to understand this and incorporate it into our political lives as part of our stocktaking. We cannot take it for granted that people will vote for the EU, or like the EU, just because it happens to work.
“As I mentioned earlier, this has been a wake-up call for the European institutions. We have to look at how we can do things better in this regard. That is what we are discussing with member states and, through them, public representatives and people. Perhaps we can go a stage further by asking how everyone failed to spot that a disconnect was arising between citizens and their representatives.
“This disconnect dominates so much of our politics today. How did we allow our public discourse to be dominated by fake news and half-truths? How can we begin to remedy things and stop it happening here? Here again, Brexit should be a lesson, because another thing the Brexit story has shown us is a brand of politics in which concern for people’s real well-being has gone out the window, the soundbite has become more important than the truth and people can groom a majority to act against its own welfare. In short, we now have a brand of politics and commentary that, all too frequently, misleads rather than leads.
“It is remarkable that a successful UK economy is determined to be divergent rather than convergent with its neighbouring countries in Europe. If we look a little more widely, we see it is not only Brexit. Our political arguments are becoming coarsened and are having knock-on effects on our behaviour. One sign is the trigger-finger readiness of so many people to play the immigration card, even the race card.
“Much of this is the result of fake news and the way in which what we used to call tall stories and gossip no longer goes from mouth to mouth but from one set of fingers to a million sets of eyes, with a tap on the keyboard.
“Brexit shows us how vulnerable we are in that regard. That is why the Commission is alerting member states to the dangers and advising them to set up an infrastructure that can counter what is happening.
“The respected Irish Independent editor-in-chief, Mr [Stephen] Rea, is making a sterling contribution to this work, having been appointed to the European Commission’s high level expert group examining the issue of fake news. Next year’s elections to the European Parliament gives this added significance and urgency. We must be on our guard.
“My final thought on this issue is to underline the difference between bad publicity, contrary opinion and fake news. As politicians we all know about bad publicity and contrary opinion. It comes with the turf and we deal with it, but we do it in the world of truth. We have been slow to recognise that fake news is something else. It is not bad publicity, it is not contrary opinion, it is not in the world of truth. It is a fiction – a harmful fantasy.
“It is urgent that we find the way to reveal it for what it is, namely, political mischief and a wrecking ball.”
Read his address in full here
Previously: ‘Friendly Towards Hogan’
BREAKING: @PhilHoganEU tells Seanad @OireachtasNews the UK government “has to face up to the fact that decision time is here on #Brexit” He claims we are stuck in the UK’s “self-imposed contradiction between its reassurance of a soft border and its hard line demands” pic.twitter.com/AoaclzUwsM
— RTÉ Politics (@rtepolitics) April 26, 2018
He looks well.