Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) party chairman Cyril Svoboda — a former interior minister and the top Czech diplomat during the country’s accession to the European Union — may be looking to raise his profile after his party’s disastrous showings at the polls.
Svoboda has been trying to win support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MZV) to establish a Czech answer to France’s École nationale d'administration (ENA), among the most prestigious of the graduate schools (Grandes écoles), created in 1945 by Charles de Gaulle to democratize access to the senior civil service.
“I wouldn’t like to comment on it now as next week I have a number of meetings that could influence it,” Svoboda told Czech Position two weeks ago while promising he would be more forthcoming in the days to come. In recent days, however, he has not answered his mobile phone or responded to text messages.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs last year suspended the operations of its Diplomatic Academy, which trains the ministry’s staff and other experts for foreign service, due to budgetary constraints that are affecting all departments.
A diplomat who asked not to be identified said that Svoboda is creating an institution that would fill that gap, educating Czech civil servants in the areas of international relations and EU affairs. “It would be a ‘super-diplomatic academy in which Cyril would have a career,” the diplomat said.
However, Svoboda also faces difficulty raising money in addition to the fact that the Diplomatic Academy is long in decay and without a director.
“On the basis of a decision by the MVZ leadership, there was no recruitment to the Diplomatic Academy for the academic year 2010/2011. As soon as information becomes available for the academic years 2011/2012, it will be published on www.mzv.cz,” reads a statement on the ministry’s website.