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That part Kenny Show on Newstalk. OK, ASLAV underlined the president of the commission was talking there and explaining why Phil had to go. She was saying I was trying to listen to it during the sport of the weather and all the rest of it. But I caught the gist of it, that she expects the highest standards in terms of observing covid-19 rules and regulations across the EU and fell fell short. So we'll play you the audio of that as soon as we can turn it round just in a few moments.
But basically grateful, I suppose, that Phil fell on his sword rather than have to fire him. Danny McConnel of The Examiner is and has probably heard all of that.
Danny, good morning. Good morning. Did you manage to catch what Ursula van der Leyen was saying about the departure of Phil Hogan?
Caught a bit of a pass. I mean, essentially as a medical doctor or sort of underlying has been known to be a stickler about the condition and those who work for the commission adhering to the highest possible standards in terms of their duties. And clearly, she was deeply uneasy with Phil Hogan's performance and his handling of the day, his movements in Ireland over the last couple of weeks or so. And it was quite clear that the fact that even after he had handed over that lengthy dossier and his timeline of events, she did not close the book on the matter.
When her spokesperson gave that press conference yesterday, it was very much still alive issue. And obviously that came on for the pretty damning statement from the Irish government. So it was very clear that she has deep concerns around his movements, the fact that he essentially broke short his quarantine. And as you rightly said in your introduction, you know, I think she is somewhat grateful that Phil Hogan took the honourable course and resigned before she had to.
I can play the audio now, so let's have a listen. Last night, Phil Holden submitted his resignation from the Post as trade commissioner. I respect this. I am very grateful to Phil Hogan for his tireless and successful work as a commissioner and as a member of the college. And I thank him warmly for his valuable contribution to the work of the commission, not only in this mandate, but also in the previous mandate where he was commissioner in charge of agriculture and rural development over the past days.
I discussed with Phil Hogan about his movements in Ireland in light of information that emerged regarding respect of public health guidelines in Ireland in the current circumstances, as Europe fights to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and Europeans make sacrifices and accept painful restrictions. I expect the members of the college to be particularly vigilant about compliance with applicable national or regional rules or recommendations in accordance with Article 246 of the treaty. It is up now to the Irish government to present suitable candidates for commissioner of Irish nationality.
As in the past, I will invite the Irish government to propose a woman and a man. Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis will assume at interim responsibilities for trade matters. And at the later stage I will decide on the final allocation of portfolios in the College of Commissioners. Thank you. OK, Ursula Pantelion explaining what happens next. The names will be proposed by the Irish government, a woman and a man. So we're still playing with gender politics here.
There could be two very good women, but there has to be a man in there. It could be two very good men, but there has to be a woman in there. So what happens next to Danny?
So ultimately, the government's now or the teacher in the strictest possible sense has to make his mind up as to who he thinks is worthy of consideration. Even before Phil Hogan's resignation was confirmed last night. Is the name Simon Coveney certainly top of most people's list in terms of, you know, if Ireland has any hope of holding or retaining the trade portfolio, which is an outside chance. But if we do hold any chance of holding that portfolio, it will need to be a heavy hitter, a prime minister, a former prime minister, a former deputy prime minister, finance minister.
That's the sort of cuttable you're talking about, given the record is likely to be teeshirt. Once again, that would certainly seem to rule him out of the running and possibly Tony, who has literally just been elected to the presidency of the European finance ministers. And so that would seem to rule him out. And that's why it's leading many people to conclude that Simon Courtney is top of the list. There have been other names that have been kind of former officials like Catherine Day and David O'Sullivan, who were involved in previous commissions.
But the sense I'm getting from government is that they want a politician, not a technocrat, in the room. And Stephen Colbert will certainly fit the bill. Reid, his name has been mentioned. But what's going against her is the lack of government and ministerial experience. Yes, she knows the Brussels bubble well, but she doesn't have ministerial experience behind her and that that is likely to go against her. Another name that has been mentioned is Richard Bruton, who obviously was certainly not short of expertise and ministerial experience, seen as a very safe pair of hands.
He missed out purely because he had been in government for nine years and live, work or had limited space at the cabinet table to give him a job. So he's seen as another viable option. But as I said, if you're looking from a Brussels perspective on environment, is keen to hold onto that portfolio. And Sotnikova, his name, given his strong performance on Brexit, given the fact that he's well known in Brussels, given he has a very close, good working relationship with Michel Barnier, and he would certainly be leading the pack as of now.
People commenting on, you know, Hungary's commissioner survives, Poland's commissioner survives. Hogan is gone. What a farce the EU has become. We'll talk to Jake Parker about all of that in a moment or two.
To the question of Simon Coveney, of course, is attractive for Mehul Martin to get one big heavy hitter out of Cork Southcentral, leaving himself and Michael McGrath to battle for two seats.
It certainly there are many different kind of permutations and calculations that would be made in terms if some company were to go. It obviously forces a by election and Finegan would be hopeful that they could keep their seat. Bottom Ronaldsay is in the running there. He was the same company's running mates, a previous TD. He pulled poorly now in February's election, but that that would be a seat between a few to go would certainly hope to help to keep. And the other consideration part as well, that essentially the same company will be going in mid-term to a commission post.
So therefore he wouldn't serve a full term. And as I have it, it is FITA falls, right, to essentially nominate the next full term commissioner in 2024. If this government is still it's still in situ. So my understanding is that the company is open and willing to consider going to Brussels if the trade portfolio is on the table. However, if a lesser, less meaty portfolio is on offer, then then he may have second thoughts. But as of now, his the name that's leading the charge.
But as you rightly say, it has become the sort of epicenter of Irish politics and since since the election and since the election of the government. And that would obviously have longstanding ramifications in that in that constituency. And certainly some has served in the European Parliament previously and came back and at least in Central, he's never been a very strong performer in national politics, but he certainly has garnered a great deal of, I suppose, praise and goodwill for his role on Brexit.
And the other consideration that was pointed out to me last week, passed from within government, is, you know, given the reconfiguration of the new government, Simon Coveney no longer has that sort of key central role on Brexit is now the third man behind the teacher cabinet minister. And it's a bit of a crowded space, yet he holds the foreign affairs portfolio. But as we know, all things run out of the out of the teacher's office. So he may feel that his best opportunity to do something meaningful is to go to Brussels.
And if he can learn the trade portfolio, then certainly he could have, as he says, a more meaningful role to play in the next couple of years. And we heard from Ursula Vanderlyn there saying she wants two names, she wants a male name and a female name. So who's the female? Well, right.
McGinniss's obviously a likely inclusion given, as I said, give her her background. Frances Fitzgerald's name has also been mentioned, given that she was ticked off boxes of former Tannishtha and a current MEP. So it could be very well be one of those two. Again, if they're minded, if the Irish government is minded to go down the more technocratic route, though, I don't think they are, the name of court today could certainly be on that list as well.
Allan Kelly, I thought it was interesting sort of calling for someone outside of the traditional political bubble. So is there someone in business, is there someone like to like a name like OLeary from Vodafone who has kind of considerable business experience and is known as a, you know, a decent performer? Could her name come into the mix? There are others who who whose names could certainly feel that if the government wants to go down that way. Well, certainly all the information that I received over the last 24 hours or so is that they want to keep it within the political sphere.
And that's why Simon Coveney is likely to be the leading candidate.
And O'Leary would have to take a pay cut to go to Brussels. And she will be and she's only she's only one name that I've just looked at.
But again, she's the one who is politically well-connected and she certainly knows the game and but is someone who could command the respect, having run a pretty sizeable organisation here, could command the respect of the politicians that she would be dealing with. But again and again, it was just someone who mentioned her name in passing last night. But again, as I said, I get the strong sense from both sides in terms of being together and that they want to keep the commission position within the political realm.
And that's why, even though our personal underline is looking for a male and a female nominee or a candidate, I certainly think it'll be if the Irish government say Simon Kobani is our choice, then I think Kobani will be the person who ends up in Brussels.
All right, Tony, thank you very much for joining us from The Examiner. That's Danny McConnell. We're joined also by Jack Paraka, Brussels correspondent for Euronews. Jacques, good morning. Good morning. Yes, a busy night on this amazing nation. It was still a 50/50 shot that he would stay, wasn't it? And it looks like Ursula Vanderlyn, based on what she just said a few moments ago, took quite a strong view on public health guidelines in each and every EU country.
She had to, to be honest with you, parts, I mean, she's a she's a doctor, she's famous for, you know, being that kind of strict adherence to the rules kind of politician. So it was really difficult for her and for the Brussels institutions. So Hogan was a popular person around here within the commission, within the sort of social structures around the European Commission and the institutions. There's been a lot of outpouring of sort of sadness that he's had to resign here in Brussels.
But as you say, the thing now is about his replacement.
As you were discussing just before, the question of hanging on to the trade portfolio. Is that at all likely, given that there is presumably a confirmation process that has to happen and you'd have someone who might be a shoo in but still has to go through the motions? They will have to go through the motions, definitely it was seen as something of a bit of a scoop for for Ireland to get that trade portfolio. It's a really, really important one, especially with Brexit and especially how important Brexit is to Ireland.
The Irish government will do everything they can to cling onto it. There's absolutely no doubt about that. They will want to keep that portfolio. But what what they have to do is to make sure that the person that they put forward has that weight. And as your previous guest was mentioning, I mean, Kobani is probably somebody that can they can do that. But we know that Ursula von der Leyen wants these two names, a male and a female.
She did that in the previous process when they were adopting the original college of commissioners. I think here there's a sense that there's a lot of talk in Brussels anyway that Marie McGuinness, who is the vice president of the European Parliament, that she is somebody that would be favoured in the commission. She's well known around here, but she doesn't really have enough perhaps trade experience to retain the profile. And the other national capitals will be looking at the people that come forward and pressuring von der Leyen.
They don't think that the candidate is strong enough to give it to one of their own commissioners at the moment. First of the line just announced that Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU commissioner, former Latvian prime minister, will sort of oversee the trade portfolio while this process is going on. And he might try and really just nail that and keep it under his wing. You don't have to have in the commission there are multiple portfolios for different commissioners and some don't even have their own directorate generals.
They just sort of float around a few. So he might try and pull it in if they don't think that the candidate that's put forward is strong enough to deliver.
Now, how are we regarded because of what Phil Hogan has felt he had to do to resign, basically because of political pressure from the island of Ireland opposition and in government figures all saying he should consider his position and he hadn't obeyed the guidelines and so on, because there are other countries who, you know, have committed greater offence, if you like, against the European ideals. And I'm thinking as one of our tax German taxpayers mentioned both Hungary and Poland, and they can carry on defending the indefensible.
A lot of the time, big fella falls on his sword. This is the media storm of national politics compared to on the EU sphere. So if in a country like you say in Hungary with Olivier here, as you mentioned, has certainly done some questionable things already in his position as commissioner, but has huge national support back at home, there is no media outcry for his resignation or cost give the police commissioner said that this kind of story, the reality is that the national politics plays a massive role on the European stage.
What everyone is looking at here in Brussels part was whether us on the line would actually be forced to fire Phil Hogan, and that would have been a real concern among EU member states and here in Brussels if she had made that decision over pressure from Ireland and the Irish and Irish politicians, because that would show that there would be a crossing of the line between sort of national capitals asserting that pressure. And I think really that's what happened. So I just saw that intense pressure that was being put on the commission.
The bad light that was being put on over his attendance at this event in Ireland decided that despite his friendships, despite his very favorable perception here in Brussels, people really like him, as I've mentioned before, that actually it was just best to step down and move on and move on to this and take the pressure off on the line. And her commission.
Does he have a future? So you in Europe, you mean? Mhm, yeah, I mean, are there other places where he might serve. I think it will be pretty difficult, as you know, politics is a fickle game and people can, you know, rise from the ashes. These probably not looking for some sort of stellar position right now. But certainly, as I said, he's considered a smart man, an astute man. He's taken the helm.
He's been a commissioner for, you know, to two mandates of the European Commission. So he'll certainly be able to advise some people on how it works in the Ballymun, whether he decides to stay in politics. He is a lifelong politician or goes back to Ireland. I don't know what he's planning on doing that, but I'm sure I'm sure he won't. We won't see the end of him. His knowledge will certainly be something that will serve him in the future.
All right, Jack, thank you very much for joining us. That's Jack Paraka, Brussels correspondent for Euronews.