` E.U. Trade Commissioner Steps Down After Breaking Covid Rules - Olive Oil Times

E.U. Trade Commissioner Steps Down After Breaking Covid Rules

Aug. 31, 2020
Costas Vasilopoulos

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Phil Hogan has resigned as the Commissioner for Trade of the European Union after allegedly defy­ing sev­eral COVID-19 safety restric­tions dur­ing a golf event in his home coun­try of Ireland.

In what has been dubbed Golfgate, Hogan along with mem­bers of the Irish gov­ern­ment were among more than 80 guests who attended a golf din­ner in County Galway on August 19.

It was becom­ing increas­ingly clear that the con­tro­versy con­cern­ing my recent visit to Ireland was becom­ing a dis­trac­tion from my work as an E.U. com­mis­sioner and would under­mine my work in the key months ahead.- Phil Hogan, for­mer Commissioner for Trade of the European Union

The pre­vi­ous day, the gov­ern­ment had rein­stated COVID-related mea­sures for­bid­ding large social events and allow­ing up to eight peo­ple to share a table in restau­rants.

Hogan also faced crit­i­cism for a detour to his home town of Kilkenny, which breached quar­an­tine rules. He had flown back to his home coun­try directly from Belgium, which is cur­rently not on Ireland’s COVID-19 green list.’

See Also: COVID-19 Updates

In a joint state­ment, the lead­ers of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment in Dublin said that the guide­lines clearly required him to restrict his move­ments for 14 days” and that peo­ple are cor­rectly angered by these actions.”

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Pressure on Hogan to resign mounted as the Commission’s pres­i­dent, Ursula Von der Leyen, requested clar­i­fi­ca­tions after she became aware of his move­ments in his home­land.

It was becom­ing increas­ingly clear that the con­tro­versy con­cern­ing my recent visit to Ireland was becom­ing a dis­trac­tion from my work as an E.U. com­mis­sioner and would under­mine my work in the key months ahead,” Hogan said in a state­ment.

I deeply regret that my trip to Ireland – the coun­try that I have been so proud to rep­re­sent as a pub­lic ser­vant for most of my adult life – caused such con­cern, unease and upset,” he added.

Phil Hogan, a for­mer farmer, was first appointed by the Commission as the agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner back in 2014. Last December, he moved on and took over the much-cov­eted chief of trade posi­tion under the pres­i­dency of Von der Leyen.

His res­ig­na­tion comes at a chal­leng­ing time with Europe cur­rently caught in the midst of trade ten­sions with the U.S. over state sub­si­dies and import tar­iffs, while still nego­ti­at­ing the post-Brexit terms with the U.K. and new trade and eco­nomic rela­tions with China.

He was a valu­able and respected mem­ber of the col­lege [of com­mis­sion­ers],” Von der Leyen said in a farewell state­ment. I wish him all the best for the future.”

Hogan’s posi­tion will be tem­porar­ily cov­ered by the Commission’s exec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent, Valdis Dombrovskis, until a new trade com­mis­sioner is nom­i­nated.





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