At least five ministers cannot lead meetings in English

Several new government members will not be able to lead business meetings in English and will use an interpreter. At least five ministers have insufficient language skills. The parties of the current ruling coalition have promised to fill top posts with people with excellent knowledge of world languages. English will be particularly crucial as the Czech EU presidency approaches.

“We will professionally and responsibly prepare for the Czech EU Presidency in autumn 2022. We will ensure that every member of the government knows at least one foreign language that they can easily speak,” promised the Together coalition (ODS, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09). The Pirates and STAN announced that “we will consistently require knowledge of world languages among ministers and deputy ministers.”

“According to her lecturers, her English is at the B1 level, and I am trying to continue to improve it, ” Defence Minister Jana Černochová (ODS) said. She says she can speak Polish and has a passive knowledge of Russian. The B1 level is proof of the ability to hold a basic conversation.

Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS) said he would use an interpreter for important business meetings. “I haven’t spoken English actively except for a few holidays recently, and I can admit to myself that my level of English is more social than top-working,” he said. He learned Russian at school and has a passive knowledge of Polish. During his presidency, Stanjura will chair the Ecofin council of finance ministers, regularly discussing important financial and economic issues.

Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL), the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, also lacks a language certificate. He can communicate in German. “I have been supplementing my English in recent years, but I use interpreters in official meetings,” he said. An interpreter will also be used by Culture Minister Martin Baxa (ODS).