PM Fischer reveals new members of his government

Mirek Topolánek, Jan Fischer (right), photo: CTK

The caretaker government of Prime Minister Jan Fischer is undergoing its first major change since it was sworn in seven months ago. The Czech prime minister has announced the names of new ministers of European affairs and environment, along with the new head of the government’s legislative council.

Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer revealed on Thursday the names of three new cabinet members. Motivated by practical reasons, the switch involves two existing ministerial seats and the creation of a new one. The outgoing European Affairs Minister, Štefan Füle, has been nominated as the Czech candidate for Eurocommissioner. Mr Fischer told reporters on Thursday who will become the new minister for European Affairs.

“I accepted the nomination of Juraj Chmiel, the current Czech ambassador to Australia, and I will ask the president to appoint him the minister for European affairs. This will happen on Monday, November 30.”

The nomination came from the Civic Democrats, who together with Social Democrats and Greens nominated the whole caretaker cabinet after the government of Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolánek fell in a vote of no-confidence in March this year.

Mirek Topolánek,  Jan Fischer  (right),  photo: CTK
Juraj Chmiel, a 49-year-old diplomat, joined the Foreign Ministry in 1992. Although an expert on Africa, Civic Democratic Party head Mirek Topolánek believes he is the right choice.

“Juraj Chmiel fits perfectly the original idea we had concerning all the ministers of the caretaker government. He has a very good grasp of foreign policy issues, and I think he is an adequate replacement for Mr Füle as someone who will negotiate with the EU. I believe that he can improve the image of the Czech Republic that has suffered considerably this year.”

Brussels is the destination for another outgoing member of the cabinet – the Environment minister Ladislav Miko, nominated by the Greens. He will return to his position at the Directorate for Protection of the Natural Environment of the European Commission.

Ladislav Miko,  Jan Dusík  (right),  photo: CTK
“I will work as the minister until Monday, November 30, when I will be present for the last time at the Czech government session. In the afternoon, President Václav Klaus will accept my resignation and appoint my successor – the current deputy environment minister, Jan Dusík.”

The final change to the caretaker Czech government involves the position of the chairman of the government’s legislative council, responsible for overseeing the cabinet’s legislation drafts. On Monday, President Klaus will appoint Social Democrat nominee Pavel Žárecký the council’s chair, who from now on will also formally be a cabinet minister.