Vishegrad Group starts talks with EC on inferior foods
22 July, 2017
Slovak PM Robert Fico (pictured) got a mandate by his colleagues of the Visegrad Group countries to start talks with the European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker for changing EU rules after complaints over inferior quality foods distributed by western companies in the region. Speaking after talks with his V4 counterparts and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Budapest last Wednesday, Fico said that V4 people felt like “second-rate citizens” due to the “dual quality” of products, which he said contributed to growing mistrust of the EU. He said he would negotiate with the European Commission to demand new legislation on behalf of V4 group. The Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka also said that rules should be changed at the European level. "We don't want that the producers send the same product in different qualities to different countries," he noted.
Although EU law requires products to carry an accurate list of ingredients on a product’s packaging, it does not require branded products to have a uniform recipe in different EU markets, FT noted.
The issue was raised at the EU summit in March. Czech and Hungarian studies have claimed significant discrepancies in food ingredients in powdered milk, bread and chocolate spread sold under the same brand names in western and eastern Member States.
At the meeting last Wednesday, Beata Szydlo, PM of Poland, said that beside the question of the quality of food, the subject of legal status of workers from the Visegrad Four in western Europe was a key issue where the Visegrad Four would seek common representation as a group.