With years of diplomatic experience under his belt, Pavel Telicka knows more about European unity than most politicians. But his communist past and lack of a political mandate has drawn criticism.
The Prague Post newspaper recently argued that Pavel Telicka "knows the European Union better than anyone else in the country." A 15-year career diplomat, Telicka has served as the Czech Republic's ambassador to the European Union and chief accessions negotiator and as the deputy minister for foreign affairs.
He was born to diplomat parents in Washington, D.C., in 1965, and later obtained a law degree from Prague's Charles University. The same year, he joined the then-Czechoslovakian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the Czech Republic's independence, he continued to serve in the foreign ministry. In 1998, he became Prague's chief negotiator for European Union accession, and one year later he became the state secretary for European Affairs and first deputy minister.
Though well received in Brussels, Telicka faced a barrage of criticism at home for his former communist ties. Critics have also pointed out that he has never held an elected office and, therefore, has no real public mandate to serve as a commissioner in one of the EU's most important decision-making bodies. Czech President Vaclav Klaus has also stated publicly that Telicka's political views are unknown. But the candidate has defended both his communist past and his political track record.