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Vladimír Špidla (Czech pronunciation: ) (born 22 April 1951 in Prague) is a Czech social democratic politician. He was the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic in July 2002 – June 2004 and then was appointed Czech commissioner in the European Commission where he serves at the post of employment, social affairs and equal opportunities.

Špidla studied history at Charles University of Prague. His thesis was Založení Živnostenské banky (Establishment of the Trading Bank). After his graduation in 1976, he took up a number of jobs including menial as he refused to fulfil political obligations necessary for better-qualified ones; he also worked as an archaeologist. He is married for the second time; he has two sons from his first marriage and another two children acquired by marriage. His hobbies include cross-country and marathon running. He speaks German and French, but his English is weaker; this was used to doubt his qualification for the EC.

After the Velvet revolution he entered local politics in the town of Jindřichův Hradec where he lived and immediately joined the re-founded Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD, then called Czechoslovak Social Democracy). In 1991-1996 he served as the director of the local job centre. In 1992, he became a member of the Presidium of ČSSD, in March 1997 its statutory Vice-Chairman, and in April 2001 Chairman of ČSSD after its previous chairman Miloš Zeman stepped aside. In 1996 he was elected to the parliament. He held the post of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in Zeman's government (22 July 1998 to 12 July 2002).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vladimir Spidla."
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