Final Word from Friday, June 21, 2002

If he succeeds in putting together a cabinet, Vladimír Špidla will be the first Czech premier who doesn't have a good command of English. According to his office, he speaks excellent German, good French and basic English. He has a special interest in the French revolution and the French foreign legion and is often compared to Lionel Jospin. Like KDU Chair Cyril Svoboda, who already speaks very good English and is learning French, Špidla is one of the participants in the little "révolution francaise" taking place here and about which we wrote on May 24. Špidla's favored candidate to head the EU-important finance ministry, Bohuslav Sobotka, doesn't speak English well and "has no time for other languages." When traveling to Brussels, Špidla and Svoboda can try using the language of diplomacy, but they'll have to translate for Sobotka.


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