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Czechs Nominate Second EU Commissioner

Just days after the first nominee withdrew, the Czech government has nominated a second EU hopeful for the job as Commissioner that starts in May.

Prague is set to officially announce the Czech ambassador to the EU, Pavel Telicka, as its new candidate. Last Friday, Milos Kuzvart, the original Czech candidate, who had been accepted by European Commission President Romano Prodi surprised Brussels by withdrawing his candidature. As with his predecessor, Telicka does not enjoy support from the main opposition Civic democratic party (ODS) or from the small ruling coalition party, KDU-CSL. The former chief negotiator with the EU is criticized mainly for his membership of the Communist party before 1989. "His nomination will present Czech Republic as a country where the bureaucratic skills are better off than a character," the leader of KDU-CSL, Miroslav Kalousek said according to Czech press agency, (CTK). But Telicka is convinced he is right for the job. "I have always been critical both about myself and the EU - I do not look at it through rose-tinted glasses and maybe that is why I have managed to stick to it for so long," CTK quoted him as saying. Telicka will be "twinned" with health and consumer protection Commissioner David Byrne. Telicka's nomination, along with those of the nine other new member states will have to be approved by member states at a summit in March and then by the European Parliament in mid-April. The ten new commissioners will then start their new jobs in May. (EUObserver.com)

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