Ireland to be asked to nominate EU commissioner candidate following Hogan’s resignation

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement on the European Green Deal at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement on the European Green Deal at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday she will ask the Irish government to present a new candidate to replace Phil Hogan after his resignation as the European commissioner for trade.

In accordance with the laws of the European Union (EU), it is “up to the Irish government to present suitable candidates for a Commissioner of Irish nationality,” von der Leyen said in a statement.

The president said she will invite the Irish government to propose a woman and a man, as in the past.

On Wednesday night, Phil Hogan submitted his resignation from the post as the EU trade commissioner after he was accused of breaching COVID-19 restrictions during his recent trip to Ireland.

“I respect this. I am very grateful to Phil Hogan for his tireless and successful work as a Commissioner and as a member of the College,” von der Leyen said on Thursday.

The responsibilities for trade matters will be temporarily taken by the Commission’s Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.

Von der Leyen did not make it clear whether the new candidate, if approved, will assume the vacancy left by Hogan or take another job, only saying that she will make a decision, at a later stage, “on the final allocation of portfolios in the College of Commissioners.”

She called for adherence of the commissioners to pandemic containment requirements. “I expect the members of the College to be particularly vigilant about compliance with applicable national or regional rules or recommendations,” she added.

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