Founder, advisory firm Moonshot Ventures
In his piece “Why Phil Hogan will survive ‘golfgate'” (August 24), POLITICO columnist Tim King concludes that despite his scurrilous behavior, the Irishman is unlikely to lose his job as European commissioner for trade. This is neither a likely nor desirable outcome for the European Commission.
Let’s look at the facts: Hogan attended a social event in Ireland that broke the country’s coronavirus regulations. He drove in and out of a region that was under lockdown, despite clear government instructions to the public to avoid doing so. He used his mobile phone while driving.
As a senior public official, Hogan should be held to a far higher standard of behavior than the Irish and European families that have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic. Yet his behavior, as revealed in recent reports, has fallen far short of what the public has a right to expect.
Instead of showing humility and immediately apologizing to the Irish people and Commission staff, Hogan blithely misled Commission officials and the media with regards to his activities in Ireland.
This all sits in stark contradiction with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s commitment last year that her Commission “will have to stand up for our values and world-class standards.”
Unfortunately, it speaks volumes about the leadership of the Commission that almost a week after “golfgate” broke, Hogan is still in his seat.
It is not in Brussels’ interest to turn a blind eye to this case of bad behavior. The electorate’s level of tolerance for the double-standards displayed by politicians in office is shrinking dramatically, and the Commission will make no friends by letting Hogan get away with his poor judgment.
Not only is Hogan’s behavior undermining the work of the many highly qualified Irish public servants employed by the EU institutions, it risks tarnishing the image of von der Leyen’s Commission as a whole.
As Hogan does not appear to be ready to face the music and resign, von der Leyen will have to take matters into her own hands. Keeping him in his post will leave an indelible stain on the Commission she leads.