23rd Feb 2024

Ireland's ex-commissioner Phil Hogan bags €1m lobbying EU

  • Phil Hogan resigned in 2020 after the Irish government accused him of breaking anti-coronavirus rules (Photo: European Commission)
Listen to article

Phil Hogan, the Irish former commissioner, has made at least €1m from lobbying the European Union.

The figure is contained in a declaration submitted to officials in Brussels last week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In the document, Hogan states that his firm generated revenue worth more than or equal to €1m in 2022.

The details suggest that Hogan has been doing extremely well since he was forced to resign his post with the European Commission — the EU's executive — in August 2020 amid a controversy known as 'Golfgate.'

His consultancy Hogan Strategic Advisory Services has five clients, according to the recent declaration. They include such business giants as JP Morgan, Visa and Vodafone.

Hogan is named as the managing director of his consultancy in the declaration — filed with the European Commission, which maintains a so-called "transparency register."

The €1m figure is the figure given for revenue gathered while advancing the interests of his clients in contacts with the EU institutions. Lobbying, in plain terms.

Hogan was nominated by the Irish government for a seat at the European Commission's top table in 2014. Over the next six years, he held the portfolios for agriculture and trade.

Under an "ethics" policy, former EU commissioners are supposed to abide by the principles of "independence, integrity and discretion" after stepping down.

Hogan has nominally been subject to a two-year "scrutiny period" following his August 2020 resignation.

He was required to formally notify the Brussels bureaucracy of any jobs he accepted in that period. All hirings are supposed to undergo an assessment by a committee dealing with ethics if they were connected with the portfolios Hogan held as an EU commissioner.

Playing by the rules?

Although the two-year period has now expired, there are questions about whether Hogan has played by the rules.

The European Commission does not appear to have published any evaluation into an announcement by the law firm DLA Piper that it had recruited Hogan.

In the announcement — dated 15 September 2021 — DLA Piper described Hogan as an "experienced political leader." Getting him onboard would allow the firm to help its clients "navigate rapidly changing regulatory and business environments."

I contacted Hogan asking if he had notified the European Commission of his recruitment by DLA Piper. He did not reply.

Hogan was embroiled in controversy when it emerged that he had attended a dinner organised by the Oireachtas Golf Society at the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020. The society is composed of elected representatives — both current and past — in Ireland's parliament, the Oireachtas.

After news broke of his attendance at the event — held in Clifden on Ireland's west coast — Hogan initially sought to retain his post as an EU commissioner. But he was subsequently pushed into resigning by Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission's president.

Although a court eventually ruled that the event did not breach public health guidelines, the event illustrated the arrogance of Ireland's political elite. It took place at a time when ordinary people had cancelled weddings, accepted reduced numbers at funerals and other stringent measures aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.

Before moving to Brussels, Hogan was one of the most rightwing ministers in the Dublin government.

As part of an austerity agenda, he sought to introduce water charges, prompting large-scale protests. It was Hogan who threatened that water "would be cut down to a trickle" for those who did not pay.

His commitment to sledgehammer neoliberalism chimes with the prevailing ethos in Brussels. Evidently, he is now able to command extravagant fees for his work as a lobbyist.

This article was originally published in David Cronin's newsletter

Author bio

David Cronin is an Irish journalist living in Brussels. He is the author of the books Balfour's Shadow, Corporate Europe and Europe's Alliance With Israel. He is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada, a website focused on Palestine.


Is Hogan about to let Trump's GM exports into EU?

By 18 March, trade commissioner Phil Hogan wants to sign a deal with the Trump administration which, to add a bit of spice, includes fast-tracking GMO imports in an attempt to please the US farming industry.

EU transparency on lobbyist meetings still piecemeal

Small steps are being made to reveal who is lobbying who within the EU. But the approach is basically haphazard and piecemeal - meaning the public remains largely in the dark and unable to truly scrutinise the influencers.

Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns

Germany is expanding agreements to return rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin as part of a wider shift in Europe to curtail migration. Berlin has reached deals with Georgia and Morocco since December.


Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza

Despite the high risk of dying from war, starvation or disease, Gazans are still not allowed to enter Egypt. Except those who bribe the authorities. And the EU mission EUBAM Rafah cannot be deployed due to security reasons.

Latest News

  1. Energy and minerals disputes overshadow new EU-ACP pact
  2. Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns
  3. How Amazon lobbyists could be banned from EU Parliament
  4. Blackmailing the Global South on EU carbon border tax won't work
  5. EU auditors: rule-of-law budget protections only partial success
  6. EU's €723bn Covid recovery fund saw growth, but doubts remain
  7. Von der Leyen rejects extremist parties, leaves door open to ECR
  8. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us