Irish politician, Phil Hogan, has moved to within touching distance of becoming the EU’s next agriculture commissioner, a role he will approach with a tough stance concerning the power which supermarkets hold over suppliers and a belief that the CAP needs to be simplified.
On the way to gaining a 33-10 positive vote from the European Parliament Agriculture Committee, following his “approval” hearing in Brussels yesterday, Mr Hogan (pictured) said he was “ready to bring forward legal measures” to ensure fair play from supermarkets for farmers. He also made it absolutely clear that he believed the current supermarket/farmer balance was far too heavily tilted towards the retail end of the food chain.
As for the CAP, he said that he was well aware of widespread concerns among MEPs about the implementation of the current policy and the “need for simplification”.
“Let me be very clear, however, the one thing simplification is not – is simple,” he said, adding nevertheless that one of his early commitments as the new commissioner, would be to “comprehensively screen” CAP legislation to see what can be simplified, although without putting into question the effectiveness of the policy, nor its sound financial management.
Mr Hogan also commented on what he termed “the horizon of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership with the US”.
“This agreement will be an important priority, but it must also be reasonable and balanced,” he said, committing himself to helping to resist any “downward pressure on our own production standards”.
“I intend, therefore, to maintain essential border protections for the most sensitive sectors.”
The final step in Mr Hogan becoming the EU’s next agriculture commissioner now moves to later in October when all “approved” designate commissioners will be voted for en bloc by the European Parliament.