Final Word from Monday, December 1, 2003





MF Dnes reported today that ex-Finance Minister Pavel Mertlík is the favorite to become the CR's first European Commissioner. MFD didn't say for whom he's the favorite, and such reports are often designed to make sure a promising candidate is eliminated from the running. If meant seriously, though, the choice of Mertlík would be a good one (as would the choice of, say, Ivan Pilip, Jiří Rusnok or Pavel Telička). When Mertlík entered the Zeman cabinet, he lacked practical experience and was a true believer of the same kind of left-wing ideals that have grown such deep roots in Brussels. His stint as chief economist at Raiffeisenbank in Prague has caused him to refine his earlier beliefs. He's become a big supporter of tougher public-finance reform, and he offers a sobering real-world point of view. Some recent cabinet decisions have been seen as bad news, but sending Mertlík to Brussels would be a positive step.

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