Dublin MEP Barry Andrews has said he expects European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to appoint a woman to the Trade Commission position vacated by Phil Hogan.
The President is very ambitious to achieve gender balance in the Commission and she is very close to achieving that, Mr Andrews told RTÉ radio’s News at One.
The departure of Phil Hogan was “an enormous strategic loss for Ireland” he said. It had been inevitable when Mr Hogan had been “too slow” to apologise and after he “stood over his misinterpretation” of the Covid-19 guidelines.
Mr Andrews, who is a member of the Trade Commission, said it was a portfolio of enormous importance with “massive issues coming down the line.” Mr Hogan’s appointment as Trade Commissioner had been “an enormous triumph” for Ireland, he added.
While he was against the appointment of “a technocrat”, if that was the cost, it would be worth it, he said.
Nobody would want their name to go forward and not be successful, he said of the possible nominees.
Today European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen invited Ireland to send nominees, one male and one female, to replace the departed Phil Hogan.
Government sources have indicated to the Irish Examiner that Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney is “willing and able” to serve should it be agreed between the government parties and is approved by Ms von der Leyen’s office.
President Von der Leyen said she will only decide on the allocation of portfolios after she has decided on the Irish nominee, hinting that Ireland will not retain the trade portfolio.