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Commissioner at the COVID party: the result is resignation

This Wednesday, the representative of Ireland, Phil Hogan, was forced to leave his post in the European Commission. The Irish government demanded his resignation. At his home, Hogan was at the center of a scandal, taking part in a gala dinner, which was attended by about 80 people, bypassing all anti-epidemiological regulations. Among the guests was the Irish Minister of Agriculture, who also left office amid widespread indignation. Has the government chosen the right path?

A dangerous precedent

The Irish government has only done harm to its own country, says the Irish Examiner:

“On top of that, the loss of Hogan would mean very negative consequences for Ireland in Brussels. The dangerous Rubicon has been crossed: the government of one of the EU countries has achieved the resignation of the European Commissioner, and it is assumed that the Commissioners are out of reach of the 'domestic squabbles'. ... Now we have to somehow smooth out the unevenness — and all this at a time when Ireland needs broad support and assistance to overcome the consequences of Brexit. The Hogan scandal was the last thing the country needed now.”

The heavyweight will be missed in the ring

Hogan's resignation seriously weakens the European Commission, says the Suddeutsche Zeitung:

“Thus, his immediate boss, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, is losing one of her most important and most experienced associates. Finding an equivalent replacement will not be easy, but it is critical because Europe cannot afford to appoint an inexperienced newcomer or neutral travel companion to the post. Moreover, quite a few politicians already sit on the college of commissars who have not shown themselves in any way in the first nine months of their work in Brussels. ... With Hogan, everything is different: in this collegium, where a whole brood of lightweight politicians found refuge, the Irishman was a real lump. He will be missed.”

There were even worse mistakes!

Handelsblatt hopes the European Commission president won't fire Hogan:

“After nine months, von der Leyen cannot afford to lose Hogan as a key figure in transatlantic relations. Von der Leyen knows that by firing him, she will only harm herself. ... In the past, this or that European Commissioner allowed himself and more serious blunders — but in the end, no one was fired. For example, three years ago, the then European Commissioner for the Digital Economy, Gunter Oettinger, sparked widespread outrage when he gave a latent xenophobic speech that referred to 'cross-eyed'. After the commissioner apologized, he was even promoted to the post of European Commissioner for Trade! Compared to this, Hogan's violation of quarantine restrictions is much easier to excuse.”

Brussels will not let Dublin dictate its will

The fact that the Irish government has called on Phil Hogan to step down, on the other hand, may help him stay in the saddle, notes RTE News:

“The dismissal of the European Commissioner under pressure from his own country would create a precedent that would be unacceptable for the European Commission. Commissioners are accountable to the European Parliament, not to the governments of nation-states. The parliament, which is still on vacation, has not yet seen much indignation over this incident. EU officials insist that if the European Commissioners are pawns in the internal political games of individual EU states, then the whole system will simply stall.”

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