Opinion: Hogan under pressure to deliver CAP reforms amid flak over his 'green agenda'
Irish farmers will be pleased to hear that Phil Hogan is doing well in the Brussels minefield as the EU Agriculture Commissioner.
It's always good to see one of our own doing well on the international stage. But the read at home on the big Kilkenny man will depend much on how he can balance the in-built conflict in being the 'European' Commissioner, while also meeting the reasonable demands of Irish farm lobbyists at a time of profound changes.
Last week he published plans for fundamental changes in EU farm policy for the years 2021-27. It will see the overall agriculture budget share drop from 38pc to some 28pc, partly due to a €12bn hole caused by the UK's departure, and in part due to pressures for more spending on things like EU security, migration and other policy areas.
And then there are pressures to deliver an EU trade deal with the South American Mercosur states which has considerable implications for agricultural trade - not least Irish beef.
The former Fine Gael kingpin and environment minister has impressed in Brussels since his swearing-in for a five-year term back in November 2014. He is well liked for his affable and easy-going way of dealing with people, and rated as a politician who can cut a canny deal.
It was notable during the Brexit campaign in 2016 that he was among the very few allowed by the Brussels machine to go and speak on the issue in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Clearly, his interventions did not tip the balance, but more importantly they did not antagonise anyone.
Hogan also had a big moment in December 2017 when he was credited with rescuing a major EU-Japan trade deal which was threatened by a bitter row over Japanese soft cheese. Using his political nous, he proposed a compromise which put things back on course.