Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek delayed a reshuffle of his minority cabinet on Monday after coalition partners asked for time to consider the changes that may include the appointment of a new finance minister. Topolánek has been seeking to strengthen the centre-right government after a heavy loss to leftist opposition in October regional and upper house elections, weeks before the country took over the rotating European Union presidency on 1 January. The government’s weakness has fuelled concerns among EU members about the central European state’s ability to lead efforts to tackle Europe’s worst economic crisis in generations, deal with conflict in the Middle East and address the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute. “The coalition partners asked for an opportunity to discuss my proposals,” Topolánek told a news conference. “The changes will be done to make the cabinet more effective, it must be done in a way that will not threaten the (EU) presidency.” Topolánek refused to give details but his statement appeared to be in line with expectations the foreign and European affairs portfolios held by Karel Schwarzenberg and Alexandr Vondra would not be affected.