Czechs are sending unknown Štefan Füle to Brussels

CzechNews
10. 11. 2009 15:30
Minister for European Affairs was nominated by the two major parties
Štefan Füle can expect lots of questions in Brussels. He is virtually unknown in the EU capital.
Štefan Füle can expect lots of questions in Brussels. He is virtually unknown in the EU capital. | Foto: Repro: Vláda.cz

Prague - From European Affairs to European Union - incumbent minister Štefan Füle will become the EU commissioner for the Czech Republic.

It took lengthy behind-the-door negotiations and permanent disagreements among the parties to finally agree on one man.  Füle has been nominated by the two major parties - the Social Democrats (ČSSD) and Civic Democrats (ODS).

The last night negotiations failed to pick the man and the parties had to meet up this morning again. Meanwhile, the Green Party dropped their candidate Jan Švejnar, realizing he would not stand a chance to be elected.

The Greens then agreed to support the ČSSD candidate and current EU Commissioner Vladimír Špidla but at that moment ČSSD had changed their mind and agreed with ODS to nominate Štefan Füle.

"They (ČSSD) agreed with ODS to nominate a candidate that will not harm anyone, that is sort of grey," said the Green MP Martin Bursík.

Who is Štefan Füle?

Štefan Füle
Foto: Ludvík Hradilek
  • born in 1962
  • studied at the Charles University in Prague (1980-1981) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (1981-1986)
  • In 1990-1995 he served as First Secretary of Permanent Mission of Czech Republic to the United Nations in New York City.
  • In 1995-1998 he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague
  • In 1998-2001 he served as Ambassador to Lithuania, also being NATO point of contact with this country.

"It is no victory for any of the parties," former leader of ODS and ex-PM Mirek Topolánek ventilated his opinion on Füle in front of the journalists. He said he is concerned about Füle's communist past but in principle, he was happy to have agreed with ČSSD.

The ODS will nominate a candidate who will replace Štefan Füle in the ministry for European affairs.

Czech president Václav Klaus welcomed the fact the parties finally agreed on the EU commissioner. He said he had no opinion of Füle but he was glad that the EU commissioner was selected, according to press agency ČTK.

Unknown and ambitious

With the battle for the most prestigious EC posts culminating in Brussels these days, it is still unclear what EU portfolio the Czechs will strive for.

"The cabinet will do its utmost for the Czech portfolio to be reasonable and favourable," PM Fischer said at the Tuesday conference.

As Aktuálně.cz learned, Štefan Füle is not very well known in Brussels. Politicians and diplomats will likely ask him about his political allegiance.

With journalists, his reputation is somewhat brighter. He made his name during the negogiations on the so called Irish guarantees.

"He always picked up his phone when we called him, which is not exactly typical for ministers," one of the Brussels journalists told Aktuálně.cz. "It is obvious that he has ambitions and he likes high politics."

 

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Zdroj: ČTK
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