Belfast Telegraph

Ireland to be handed key role at centre of UK trade talks

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan

By Kevin Doyle

Ireland is set to be handed one of the top jobs in the European Commission and major influence on future trade talks with the UK.

Phil Hogan is in line to be appointed to the position of Trade Commissioner, a job that will put him at the centre of negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and UK.

The appointment will be seen as evidence of the EU standing firmly by Ireland in the fact of a hard Brexit.

Mr Hogan has been one of the most vocal critics of the UK's tactics in the current Brexit negotiations, recently describing Prime Minister Boris Johnson as "unelected".

He has warned a no deal Brexit will create a "foul atmosphere" with the EU that will have "serious consequences" for the UK's chances of a future trade deal with the bloc.

Member States are still battling for key roles on the new Commission ahead of a formal announcement by incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leydon, on Tuesday.

There is still a chance she could reshuffle her plans before then but a number of sources said Mr Hogan is the clear frontrunner for trade. His current agriculture portfolio is expected to go to Poland.

The Trade Commissioner is responsible for representing the EU at the World Trade Organisation and other international forums.

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