In this week's edition of

05-03-2001

Jan KavanJan Kavan The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, has quite an unusual life story. To start with he is half British, born in London in 1946, although his family moved back to Prague five years later, where for several years they were targeted for persecution by the then Stalinist regime. Mr Kavan's interest in politics began early; during the Prague Spring of 1968 he was a prominent student leader. After the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, Mr Kavan returned to Britain, where he remained politically active. Placing himself firmly on the left of the political spectrum, he was an energetic campaigner for nuclear disarmament, and in time he established close links with Britain's Labour Party, as well as with the dissident community back home. In the last few years Mr Kavan's rise on the Czech political scene has been little short of meteoric. He has now been Foreign Minister for two-and-a-half years and during that time foreign policy has been dominated by the twin questions of defence and European Union expansion. So when I spoke with Mr Kavan a few days ago, I began by asking him what was his vision for the future of the European Union.