Press review

24-02-2004

The choice of a new candidate for European commissioner following Milos Kuzvart's embarrassing resignation after just a few days in Brussels fills the front pages of all Czech dailies. "Pavel Telicka: heading for Brussels" says Lidove Noviny, noting that Mr. Telicka, the country's chief negotiator with the EU, is the best possible choice - but that there is little to thank the government for.

The selection of the country's European commissioner was bungled, very badly bungled, says the paper and if we have anyone to thank for what now appears to be a very good choice it is the European Commission's President Mr. Romano Prodi. Mr. Prodi not only speeded up the whole process by giving the Czech government a 48 hour deadline - he actually described the future candidate in great detail. He stopped short of actually naming Pavel Telicka but everyone knew whom he had in mind, the paper says.

The incident is still treated as a major embarrassment and there are cartoons in the papers poking fun of "the commissioner who got cold feet". There is a great deal of anger directed against Mr. Kuzvart and Lidove Noviny reports that there is considerable pressure on him to resign from politics.

Tuesday's Pravo carries a front page interview with the Prime Minister's wife about his recent health problems. The Prime Minister collapsed during a heated debate in parliament last Friday which was directly linked to the news of Milos Kuzvart's resignation. The Prime Minister's wife claims that strife within the party and mounting pressure on her husband were to blame.

There are many people within the party who completely lack political perspective but who are only too ready to knife my husband in the back, she told the paper, adding that the Prime Minister should transfer more work and responsibilities to his aides. His doctor has warned him that if he fails to do so his state of health could worsen, Mrs. Spidlova said.

On a different topic, Mlada Fronta Dnes carries a snapshot of the entrance to the Civic Democratic Party's headquarters in the Lesser Town - entirely blocked by bags of garbage. The garbage was unloaded there by the eco-group Friends of the Earth in an effort to encourage the Civic Democratic Party to vote against a proposed law which would allow garbage to be imported for incineration to this country.

24-02-2004