EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan has resigned due to a political scandal over the violation of Ireland's coronavirus regime.
вЂњCommissioner Phil Hogan has resigned,вЂќ European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement Wednesday.
вЂњI respect his decision. I am very grateful for his tireless work as Commissioner for Trade since the beginning of this mandate and for his successful tenure as Commissioner for Agriculture in the previous Board. He was a valued and respected member of the College. I wish him all the best for the future, вЂњsaid von der Leyen.
Earlier in the day, European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant said that von der Leyen вЂњwill draw conclusions when she finishes studying and evaluating the content of Hogan's report on his trip to Ireland.
Hogan recently attended a golf company dinner at a hotel in the west of Ireland with about 80 guests. This is a flagrant violation of the Irish government's coronavirus restrictions.
Irish Agriculture Minister Dara Kalliri resigned for attending this crowded event just five weeks after taking office. Hogan only publicly apologized but stressed that he assumed that the organizers of the dinner would comply with all the rules.
вЂњI posed no danger to anyone,вЂќ said the EU Commissioner, explaining in excuse that he had recently tested negative for coronavirus.
The Irish government, of which Hogan is a European official, has distanced itself from him. Prime Minister Michael Martin and other politicians have announced that Hogan has clearly violated measures to combat the pandemic.
The Dublin Department of Health has unequivocally rejected his excuse: the test cannot detect every infection. In addition, Belgium, from where Hogan came to Ireland, is not on the European list of countries that are completely safe in terms of a pandemic, so he had to quarantine for two weeks anyway.
His resignation is forcing the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to reshuffle his cabinet. And there is no guarantee that Dublin's appointee to replace Hogan will receive the same trading portfolio. This will potentially weaken Ireland's position in the Brexit negotiations.