Svoboda's EU efforts over Cuba pay off
Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda probably has slim hopes of holding onto his job when the next government is eventually formed, but he will end his time at the Foreign Ministry on a diplomatic high note. At Monday's summit in Luxembourg, Mr Svoboda managed to persuade his EU counterparts to start working together on a mid and long-term strategy towards Cuba.
The EU has been struggling ever since to find a way to deal with the Castro regime. On Monday there was progress in two key areas Ministers agreed that EU states should speak with one voice on Cuba, and also provide concrete support to those fighting for democracy on the island. It was Mr Svoboda who was lobbying heavily - backed by several other former Communist states - for the EU to support these two concepts.
The Czechs were unhappy when sanctions were lifted in 2005, but they now accept there is no appetite in the rest of the EU for their reimposition. Mr Svoboda himself told reporters it wasn't realistic. However he did warn against taking too soft an approach to Cuba. The human rights situation, he said, was getting worse and worse. Czech officials have also pointed out that Fidel Castro has new allies in Latin America, such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.