Phil Hogan is set to be a “strong force for trade” if he is successful in being confirmed as the new European Commissioner for Trade, according to his Fine Gael colleague and Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly.

Kelly congratulated Commissioner Hogan on a “solid, knowledgeable performance” at a hearing in the European Parliament yesterday, Monday, September 30, which is the final step before the parliament decides on whether to confirm commissioners in the various roles.

“Phil Hogan will be a strong force for EU trade and that was clear by his solid, knowledgeable and confident hearing before MEPs in the European Parliament this evening,” argued Kelly, speaking after the event.

Kelly, a member of the parliament’s International Trade Committee, said that Commissioner Hogan left the majority of the MEPs “reassured” that he was the “right person for the job”, and that he performed well when faced with “appropriate and often tough questions”.

“Trade is a hugely important portfolio for the union and also for Ireland, so I am delighted that Mr. Hogan will take on this role. His appointment is in recognition of the good work Mr. Hogan did as Agriculture Commissioner over the last five years,” the Kerry native added.

Kelly went on to argue that the EU must “pursue an ambitious trade agenda” and “be a global leader in setting trade standards”.

I have every confidence that Commissioner Hogan will advance European interests on the world stage.

During the plenary session in the European Parliament yesterday, Hogan outlined his five priorities, should he be successful in being confirmed as Trade Commissioner.

These included specific reference to: reform for the World Trade Organisation (WTO); the much-publicised EU-Mercosur trade deal; and building EU-US and EU-China trading relationships.

“I believe that EU trade policy can and must provide real opportunities for sustainable growth, for stability and predictability in an increasingly volatile world – while offering EU businesses a level playing field and protection from unfair trading practices,” said the commissioner.