Published: Wed, 10 September 2014
The leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament Sean Kelly has congratulated Ireland’s next European Commissioner, Phil Hogan TD, on securing the much sought-after Agriculture portfolio.
Mr Kelly said it was highly significant that the Irish Commissioner would hold such an important role:
“Commissioner-designate Hogan will have responsibility for shaping European agriculture policy and overseeing the implementation of the CAP agreement. Agriculture accounts for 41 per cent of the annual multi-billion EU budget.”
Citing the Commissioner-designate’s farming background, Mr Kelly said his experience would hugely benefit the Commission: “A lifetime in politics at local and national level representing a predominantly rural constituency means he is in tune with the challenges facing rural communities. He also has experience at the Brussels negotiating table having successfully chaired environmental working groups during the Irish EU Presidency.”
The South MEP called all Irish MEPs to support the new Commission under President Jean-Claude Juncker: “I hope all Irish MEPs will continue the successful custom of supporting Ireland in the European Parliament and leave narrow party political concerns back at Dublin Airport. This custom has ensured in the past that Ireland has punched above its weight in Brussels, in securing influential posts such as this one, and I would urge all Irish MEPs to continue this effective tradition.
In his previous role of Minister for the Environment and Local Government, he implemented the biggest reform of Local Government in Ireland since the formation of the state, devolving real power back to citizens at the local level. He took on a huge reform agenda including items that had been ignored by previous administrations. He introduced the Aarhus Convention onto the Irish statutes books, which represents one the biggest steps forward in access to justice for Irish citizens in the area of environmental rights.”
Concluding, Mr Kelly added: “He will be an excellent Commissioner as he will listen to what the European Parliament has to say and most importantly of all, will work in the overall interests of EU citizens, without fear or favour.”
The European Parliament will vote on the proposed new Commission as a whole during the October plenary session in Strasbourg.