Parties break stalemate over EU Commissioner as Füle chosen for job
The tortuous process of choosing a new European Commissioner is over – the government announced on Tuesday that Europe Minister Štefan Füle would be nominated to the five-year post. The breakthrough came after the two major political parties – who control much of the decision-making in the caretaker cabinet – finally agreed on an acceptable candidate.
After weeks of speculation the Czech Republic has finally chosen a representative for the new European Commission; he is 47-year-old Štefan Füle, a seasoned diplomat who’s served as deputy foreign minister for European affairs since May. He replaces the current Czech commissioner Vladimír Špidla.
“First of all no-one is ‘teaching Fischer a lesson’. Fischer is old enough and educated enough to learn his own lessons. I don’t like these phrases and I would ask you not to use them. It is quite obviously not my fault that the name of my candidate - whom I still regard as an extremely good candidate - was leaked to the media. From that point on, it became impossible to negotiate. That is all I have to say on the matter. The government made a democratic decision. That is all I have to say.”
The major parties seem satisfied with a candidate they can all live with. However some believe that for a small country with a eurosceptic reputation, sending a little-known diplomat instead of a well-known political figure is a lost opportunity. Lukáš Macek is the head of the European Programme at France’s prestigious Science Po university and stood in this year’s European Parliament elections:
Strong signal or not, Štefan Füle’s CV is not without controversy. He spent five years in the early 80s studying at Moscow’s prestigious State Institute of International Relations and is a former member of the Communist Party. However he says he made no attempt to rise through the party’s ranks, and neither the KGB nor the Czech secret police had any interest in cultivating him as an agent.