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Former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan hints at future in political consultancy

“A lot has changed since then, and certainly 2020 has been a year like no other – not least for myself!” Mr Hogan noted ruefully.
Phil Hogan

Phil Hogan

John Downing

Former Irish EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, has hinted he may be tempted by a lucrative career in global business and political consultancy.

In his first public engagement in almost two months, Mr Hogan made just one glancing reference to his forced resignation on August 26. This followed controversy surrounding his attendance at a political golf outing and dinner at Clifden amid ongoing Covid 19 restrictions.

Addressing an online session of the MacGill School, he remarked that he had last addressed this event back in 2018.

“A lot has changed since then, and certainly 2020 has been a year like no other – not least for myself!” Mr Hogan noted ruefully.

The former EU agriculture and trade commissioner gave a wide-ranging address which covered the three pressing themes of Covid 19, Brexit, and EU-US relations.

But he was also scathingly critical about the Irish Government’s efforts to counteract heavy dependence for hauliers on “landbridge” links to Europe via the UK. He said developments like the Rosslare ferryport were “urgent and necessary to protect our exports – but the Irish Government was “lethargic” about this.

Phil Hogan

Phil Hogan

On Covid 19 he noted strong EU moves earlier this year to successfully ensure supply chains for medicines and food and drink remained open. He said the EU was poised to lead a post-virus economic recovery with plans for a €750bn virus recovery fund as part of an overall budget package worth €1.8 trillion between now and 2027.

He said he regretted difficulties on agreeing details between EU governments and the European Parliament to free up this money and he urged both sides to make an early compromise.

On EU-US trade relations, Mr Hogan noted that the outlook is fairly upbeat once the presidential election is finished on November 3. He noted that in his final days in EU office he had concluded “a mini EU-US” trade deal which cut tariffs for the first time in 20 years and he hoped this trend can be continued and extended.

The session was compered by Professor Brigid Laffan, the well known Irish academic who heads the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. At the close of proceedings she asked Mr Hogan about his future plans.

“I have not come to any conclusion about that. It’s the first time in about 38 years that I’ve had a little bit of a breather and I’m going to take full advantage of it until the end of the year,” he said.

“But I’ve had a lot of contacts from around the world from various people who wanted to talk to me. All I advised them was to make their submissions and I’ll have a good look at them – but not until 1 st of January 2021,” he continued.

“So, if you know anybody in the Italian region, Brigid, interested in a man of enormous experience and a good address book, I’m your man,” he joked.

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