President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen Thursday warned top officials to take special care to comply with coronavirus rules after the shock resignation of European Union trade boss Phil Hogan.
Her words of caution came just hours after Hogan stepped down following a week of pressure brought on by a breach of coronavirus guidelines in his home country of Ireland.
As "Europeans make sacrifices and accept painful restrictions, I expect members of the college to be particularly vigilant about compliance with applicable national or regional rules or recommendations," she said in a statement.
The commission college is the EU's de facto executive Cabinet, which holds 27 members, one from each member state.
Von der Leyen, a former German defense minister, thanked Hogan "warmly for his valuable contribution" and said she respected his decision.
Hogan's demise came as a shock to the EU, and top officials heaped praise on the former Irish environment minister who has been at the commission since 2014, initially in charge of agriculture.
"This is a sad day. We will sorely miss you, your stamina, dedication and negotiating talent," wrote Sabine Weyand, the commission's top civil servant on trade and a former Brexit negotiator.
Martin Selmayr, who was chief of staff to Von der Leyen's predecessor, said that without Hogan there would have been no EU-Japan trade agreement, nor a 2018 trade truce between the United States and the EU.
"He made a mistake, true. But he served remarkably," Selmayr tweeted.
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