#Ireland – Leo Varadkar nominates Phil Hogan for a second term as Ireland’s commissioner

| July 10, 2019

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed his intention to nominate Phil Hogan for a second term as Ireland’s member of the European Commission. Phil Hogan served as Agriculture and Rural Development commissioner in the current Commission and is considered to be a skilled negotiator and alliance builder.

Speaking today (10 July) the Taoiseach said that Hogan was also considered to be a very important voice on Brexit, ensuring that his colleagues have a keen understanding of the potential negative impact that the UK’s exit will have on Ireland.

Hogan has been criticized by Irish beef farmers for his role in the negotiation of the Mercosur trade agreement with the EU. The four Mercosur countries – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay – are major beef producers. Today, Irish beef farmers marched on Leinster House (the seat of the Irish parliament) to protects against the deal, leaving their wellies (wellington boots) at the gates of the parliament saying they were no longer needed.

According to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president, Joe Healy, the Irish parliament will oppose the deal when it is brought before it. The free trade agreement is a “mixed agreement” that will require the adoption by every government in the EU. In some EU countries, most notably Belgium, ratification will require the consent of regional parliaments.

The IFA is skeptical about Mercosur meeting EU standards, citing Brazil by example he argued that Brazilian cattle are not tagged, there is no database and no traceability. He also claimed that hormones and other growth promoters were widely used.

Green groups have also raised concerns about environmental degradation. The Amazon rainforest continues to be destroyed at a precipitous rate to make way for cattle ranching. There are other concerns that go beyond the beef sector, such as the high incidence of salmonella in poultry.

Hogan has a farming background and has not been oblivious to the needs of the farming community. In recent months, he secured an aid package for Irish beef farmers in recognition of the significant challenges facing the sector as a result of ongoing market turbulence largely related to Brexit. It is not clear which portfolio the Irish will be focused on, but it is thought that Hogan is interested in remaining in agriculture or moving to trade, an area he will already be familiar with.

Catherine Feore


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Category: A Frontpage, Animal welfare, Brexit, Climate change, CO2 emissions, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Economy, EU, European Commission, Exports, Food, Politics, Rural development, Trade, Trade agreements

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