Prague - Even after intensive negotiations, the Czech coalition government has failed to agree on a new Czech European commissioner. “The candidates nominated by the coalition parties are still the same. And no new candidate has been suggested,” said Premier Bohuslav Sobotka.
Sobotka's Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) has nominated former Finance Minister Pavel Mertlik, ANO 2011's candidate is former European Commissioner Pavel Telicka, and the Christian Democratic Party (KDU-CSL) recommends current EU Commissioner Zuzana Roithova.
ANO 2011 leader Andrej Babis said on Wednesday that the new president of the European Commission should pick the next Czech commissioner. “Maybe the best option would be to ask the European Commission president to choose one of the candidates recommended by the coalition partners. And we will avoid useless disputes,” said Babis.
Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) said that Babis's idea is indeed one of the options, but according to Sobotka it was just a tongue-in-cheek statement. “This must be resolved by the government,” said the premier.
Sobotka's adviser Vladimir Spidla and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said that the new European commissioner should be a former minister, such as the CSSD's candidate Mertlik. But ANO 2011 does not agree with such a requirement.
Sources speak about a possible fourth candidate, current ambassador to the EU Martin Povejsil, in case the parties fail to reach an agreement, reported earlier this week the HN newspaper.
The coalition parties have also been unable to agree on a portfolio for the next EU commissioner. So far, five possible portfolios have been mentioned: transport, industry and entrepreneurship, research and innovation, internal market, and energy.
Jean-Claude Juncker may be elected as president of the European Commission in the middle of July. By that time, the Czech government will have to have already agreed on a candidate and a preferred portfolio for him.
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