Big Phil’s big day has arrived

EU Farm Commissioner designate Phil Hogan was up early this morning, ready for his ‘hearing’ with the members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.

He entered the parliament building at 8.00am in the company of party colleagues Mairead McGuinness and Brian Hayes. He faces a three hour ‘question and answer’ session with MEPs this morning, as the politicians get a feel for what Mr Hogan’s priorities will be over the next five years.

Already known are his obligations to help implement the detail of the EU:US Trade deal and the requirement to oversee the mid-term review of the CAP. There is also an expectation that the new Farm Commissioner will be expected to forge a closer working relationship with his Environment and Trade colleagues.

There is a growing expectation that Phil Hogan will be well placed to facilitate the needs of Irish agriculture over the coming years. He already has a close working with Mairead McGuinness, a Vice President of the Parliament. Another key ally waiting in the wings for Mr Hogan is Jim Nicholson, the MEP from Northern Ireland. The current Father of the European parliament and a man of significant influence within the world of EU agri affairs, the Ulster Unionist politician has already made it clear that he wants to work with the Kilkenny man on a proactive basis.

The only fly in the ointment for Mr Hogan today could be the stance taken by Luke Ming Flanagan and Matt Carthy. Both MEPS have scheduled questions as part of today’s hearing process.

Speaking to Agriland prior to the hearings getting under way Mairead McGuinness confirmed that Phil Hogan was well prepared in terms of communicating his policy priorities to members of the parliament.

She added: “That’s not to say something unexpected could come up. But Phil Hogan is a very experienced politician and should be able to cope with all eventualities.”

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