On Tuesday, EU trade chief Phil Hogan confirmed that he was mulling throwing his hat into the ring for the top job at the World Trade Organization.
“Certainly I am exploring the option of being a candidate for the director general of the WTO,” Hogan said at a press conference following a meeting with EU ministers. “I think that there is an important amount of work to be done to reform the organization, to make it more effective and efficient, but also to deal with many of the important trade issues that are bedeviling the international community now arising from COVID 19.”
In a statement opening the meeting, Hogan argued EU countries should put forward a single candidate for team Europe.
“The EU has very strong multilateral credentials and is recognized as a force that could shore up the WTO and protect the multilateral trading system. This puts the EU in a legitimate position to offer a director general to the WTO. I propose that you support the presidency carrying out further consultations to be able to designate, in the coming weeks, an EU candidate,” he said.
Asked whether EU countries backed his candidacy, Hogan suggested there was still some persuading to be done.
“I was heartened today by the fact that the majority of member states spoke in favor of a single European Union candidate, but of course, this is work in progress.”