It has been confirmed that Ireland’s nominee to the European Commission, Phil Hogan, will take on the role as Commissioner for Trade in the new European Commission.

In a statement, new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, from Germany, confirmed which commissioners would be assigned to the various portfolios.

“Phil Hogan (Ireland), the incumbent Commissioner for Agriculture, will bring his experience to the new commission in the ‘Trade’ portfolio,” the statement said.

For the last five years, Commissioner Hogan has occupied the agriculture and rural development position in the commission.

“I am very pleased to have been nominated by President-elect von der Leyen to the position as commissioner-designate for Trade in the next European Commission,” said Commissioner Hogan.

“This is undoubtedly one of the most important economic portfolios in the College of Commissioners and the appointment comes at a very important time for the EU and for Ireland,” he added.

It is understood that the new team of commissioners, and their positions, will now go before the European Parliament for ratification.

The commissioner’s assignment to the trade job was welcomed by his Fine Gael colleagues in the European Parliament.

The leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly MEP, said: “As a member of the parliament’s International Trade Committee, I am delighted that Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan has been selected to become the Commissioner for Trade.

“This is a very important portfolio for both the Union and Ireland and his appointment is a clear recognition of the good work Commissioner Hogan did as agriculture commissioner over the last five years,” Kelly added.

This is the first time Ireland has been given the significant trade portfolio at the commission, which is increasingly important now with many free trade agreements on the horizon, and can be of enormous benefit to Ireland, especially in a post-Brexit scenario when we need to diversify and grow new markets.

“Of course, if Brexit does happen then the trade commissioner would be heavily involved in any negotiations on a future trading relationship between the EU and UK,” Kelly highlighted.

Meanwhile, the agriculture portfolio will be taken by Poland’s Janusz Wojciechowski.