Alexandr Vondra (Czech pronunciation: [ˈalɛksandr̩ ˈvondra]; born 17 August 1961) is a Czech politician and diplomat who served as Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic from 2010 to 2012 under Prime Minister Petr Nečas and has been Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2019.
|Minister of Defence|
13 July 2010 – 7 December 2012
|Prime Minister||Petr Nečas|
|Preceded by||Martin Barták|
|Succeeded by||Karolína Peake|
|Member of the European Parliament for the Czech Republic|
|Assumed office |
1 July 2019
|Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs|
9 January 2007 – 8 May 2009
|Prime Minister||Mirek Topolánek|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Štefan Füle (as Minister)|
|Senator from Litoměřice|
28 October 2006 – 28 October 2012
|Preceded by||Zdeněk Bárta|
|Succeeded by||Hassan Mezian|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
4 September 2006 – 9 January 2007
|Prime Minister||Mirek Topolánek|
|Preceded by||Cyril Svoboda|
|Succeeded by||Karel Schwarzenberg|
|Czech Republic Ambassador |
to the United States
14 May 1997 – 10 October 2001
|Preceded by||Michael Žantovský|
|Succeeded by||Martin Palouš|
|Born||17 August 1961|
Prague, Czech Republic
|Alma mater||Univerzita Karlova|
Vondra also served as Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs between 2007 and 2009, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2007, both in cabinets of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. Vondra is also former Senator from Litoměřice (2006—2012) and Czech Ambassador to the United States (1997—2001).
He was candidate for the European Parliament seat in the 2019 election and received 29,536 preferential votes and was elected Member of the European Parliament representing the Civic Democratic Party (ODS).
He was born in Prague. He graduated in geography from Charles University in Prague in 1984, receiving a Doctor in Natural Sciences degree one year later. In the mid-1980s he was a dissident and Charter 77 signatory. After organizing a demonstration in January 1989, Vondra was imprisoned for two months. In November 1989, while the Velvet Revolution was underway, he co-founded the Civic Forum.
In 1990-1992, Vondra was foreign policy advisor to President Václav Havel. When Havel stepped down from his office during dissolution of Czechoslovakia and at the same time independent Czech foreign service began to be formed, Vondra became Czech Republic's First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in August 1992, responsible i. a. for negotiating the division of Czechoslovak diplomacy. In 1996 he was a chief negotiator for the Czech-German Declaration on the Mutual Relations and their Future Development. In March 1997 Vondra left to become the Czech Ambassador to the United States, staying there until July 2001. From March 2001 to January 2003, Vondra was the Czech Government Commissioner responsible for preparation of 2002 Prague summit of the NATO. From January to July 2003 Vondra was a Deputy Foreign Minister.
He became an ODS member only after his ministerial appointment and the victory in Senate elections in October 2006. He is generally perceived as pro-United States and wary of European integration though less than ODS eurosceptic hardliners, and had good connections to Havel (his announced return to politics in spring 2006 was taken as a sign of ODS trying to appease the political centre).
In November 2012, he decided to step down from politics, due to the loss of credibility following several corruption accusations and his previous relentless effort to pursue an installation of a US military missile radar, despite the prevailing opposition of his fellow Czech citizens.
In 2019 Vondra returned to politics when the Civic Democratic Party nominated him in European Parliament election. He was on 15th place on party's list. He received 29,536 preferential votes and was elected.
Vondra then ran for the position of Vice-Chairman of ODS. He received 443 votes of 502 which was more than any other candidate and was elected.
Since his exit from politics, Vondra has served as director of the Prague Centre for Transatlantic Relations at the CEVRO Institute in Prague, as well as an instructor for both Bachelor and Master level courses at the university.
In 2014, he rejected Noam Chomsky's statements about dissidents in the East European communist countries, and remarked that "at the time when people like Havel were in Communist jails over their fight for freedom, Chomsky advocated Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia from the Boston cafes" and he warned that if the world listens to "rubbish from these people" it will once again lead to concentration camps and gulags.
- "RNDr. Alexandr Vondra". Government of the Czech Republic. Archived from the original on 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Lenka Ponikelská. "'Saša' Vondra: dissident minister". Czech Business Weekly. Retrieved 2008-02-11.[permanent dead link]
- "Dr. Alexandr Vondra". Alexandr Vondra official website. Archived from the original on 21 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Jana Mlčochová. "Russian crude, Aero's deal and the ČSA trap". Czech Business Weekly. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
[Vondra is] Known for his pro-Western and especially pro-U.S. stance[dead link]
- "Czech running mates?". POLITICO. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- "Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism - Press Release". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
- "Vondra se vrací do politiky, za ODS kandiduje v eurovolbách. Jedničkou je Zahradil". Aktuálně.cz - Víte, co se právě děje (in Czech). 21 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
- "Eurovolby: „Skokan" Vondra uspěl z 15. místa. Uspěl i generál Hynek Blaško". Blesk.cz. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
- "Havloid se hlásí, řekl Vondra ODS. Chce, ať Češi vyberou národního ptáka". iDNES.cz. 18 January 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
- "Prague Centre for Transatlantic Relations (PCTR) - CEVRO INSTITUTE". cevroinstitut.cz. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
- "Východoevropští disidenti moc netrpěli, otřel se Chomsky o Havla a spol. - Domov - Lidovky.cz". Lidovky.cz. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- Martin Hekrdla. "Lesk a bída drzých čel". Literární noviny. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alexandr Vondra.|
- http://www.alexandrvondra.cz – official webpage stressing his senatorial role
- Vondra in foreign-language media, mostly English
- Vondra's statement at the general debate of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly (scanned images in PDF format)