Stephen Collins: Phil Hogan could prove to be Britain’s post-Brexit saviour

Irishman as trade commissioner has vested interest in easing EU-UK trade

EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan: Ireland has a far greater interest than any other EU country in a deal that allows trade between the UK and the EU move as freely as possible. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan: Ireland has a far greater interest than any other EU country in a deal that allows trade between the UK and the EU move as freely as possible. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Phil Hogan’s appointment to the powerful post of European trade commissioner has been widely portrayed as a reinforcement of the Irish position on Brexit and of course it is. The other side of the coin is that it could ultimately prove helpful to the British when they eventually get around to negotiating a trade deal.

Immediately after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced his appointment, Hogan made the point that even if the UK exits the EU on October 31st without a deal the British government will have to come back to talk about future trade arrangements and the same conditions, including the backstop, will apply before they can start.

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