The European Commissioner for Trade, Irishman Phil Hogan, announced on Monday that he will not stand as a candidate to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), a possibility he was considering, considering that his work within the European Commission is a priority.
“Our enormously important European trade agenda requires the full and careful involvement of the European Union (EU) and, in particular, the Commissioner for Trade,” Hogan said in a statement.
“Consequently, I have decided not to submit my name for the position of Director-General of the WTO,” he added.
The commissioner indicated that his decision will allow “other potential candidates, including Europeans, to consider running until July 8.”
Hogan had announced a few weeks ago that he was ready to present his candidacy to replace the Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo, who announced his early retirement from office for personal reasons.
That step had motivated him to cut back on some of his actions as a commissioner.
The Commissioner expressed his gratitude to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, for her support of a potential candidacy, as well as the Irish Government, especially the already former Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
Hogan said he has also considered “carefully” the views of the EU’s leaders and its trade ministers.
He noted that the next WTO director-general should be appointed without delay although “in recent days it has become clear that the original timetable for his appointment in early September 2020 will be delayed”, which in his opinion will create “uncertainty in the leadership of the organization at this critical moment. “
Hogan said the current challenges facing the WTO “require all members to work together”, something that “unfortunately does not happen today.”
In the eyes of the EU, trade priorities go through economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, or facing increased tension in rhetoric and the “unnecessary imposition of tariffs” on European goods by the United States “instead to negotiate solutions. “
Also the need to create equal opportunities with China, pay attention to the negotiations with the United Kingdom for a post-Brexit agreement, or give new impetus to the implementation of the EU’s free trade agreements with 76 countries throughout the world, Hogan pointed out.