Vladimír Špidla has been European Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities since 2004 and is a former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic (2002-2004).
After joining the Regional Authority of Jindřichův Hradec first as Vice-Chairman and then as Director of the Regional Employment Authority, Mr. Špidla started his political career as a Member of the Czech Parliament Chamber of Deputies for the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) and Chairman of the Social Policy and Healthcare Committee of the Chamber (1996-2004).
In 1997, he was elected Vice-Chairman of his party, the CSSD, and he became Chairman in 2001, a position he held until 2004. In 1998, he was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Mr. Špidla holds a master's degree and a PhD in history and prehistory from the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences of the Charles University of Prague.