Taoiseach pushing to get ‘influential’ Irish EU role

Taoiseach pushing to get ‘influential’ Irish EU role

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has remained tight-lipped on whether the Government will nominate European commissioner Phil Hogan for another term.

Mr Varadkar said he will be pushing for an “influential” position on the European Commission for the upcoming five-year term.

He said the Government will not make a decision on putting forward Mr Hogan, the agriculture commissioner, for a second term until other positions such as commission president are filled because “there’s a certain balance to be had”.

It is widely anticipated that Mr Hogan will be nominated to continue on in Europe.

“A crucial thing aside from the person who will be the next commissioner for Ireland, is what portfolio we hold,” said Mr Varadkar.

Needless to say, we are going to want to have one that is influential.

Separately, he has said it would be “quicker to elect a Pope” after leaders failed to fill top EU jobs for the next five years, including leaders of the European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament. Another EU Council is now expected to be called in late June or early July to fill the top positions.

On his way into the meeting, Mr Varadkar said this is not unusual in the European political process as “sometimes it takes a few rounds”.

“It’s quicker to elect a Pope very often, than it is to fill these particular positions,” said Mr Varadkar.

He will travel to Luxembourg this evening after today’s EU Council where he will sign off on a €350m investment package for Dublin Airport. The 20-year European Investment Bank (EIB) loan will fund upgrades to the airfield and passenger areas. It will also fund climate mitigation by electrifying the airport vehicle fleet.

In advance of the announcement, the Taoiseach said: “I am very glad to be travelling to Luxembourg for the signing of this loan agreement between the EIB and DAA.

As an island nation, Ireland depends on aviation for international connectivity. Without it, we’d be poor and isolated.

“I will also use the opportunity of the visit to speak to the EIB about future loan opportunities for housing projects and the National Broadband Plan.”

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