Fico: I Won’t Have Calm Mind Until Unfair Practices Disappear

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From the left Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (photo taken from the Slovak Government Office's website)

Bratislava, October 13 (TASR) – The problem with double standards in food quality isn’t negligible and certainly doesn’t concern only Slovakia, said Prime Minister Robert Fico in his opening speech at the Summit for Equal Quality of Products for All held in Bratislava on Friday.

“I’m openly declaring that this state of affairs is unacceptable to the people of Slovakia at the very least,” emphasised Fico.

Fico pointed out that the problem hasn’t emerged recently, but goes back to the 1990s. Furthermore, double quality standards don’t apply only to foods but to other consumer products as well.

“A lot of work still awaits, and, on behalf of the Slovak Republic at a minimum, I won’t have a clear mind until the unfair practices completely disappear from the internal EU market,” claimed Fico, adding that Friday’s summit puts Slovakia one step closer in this direction.

The topic discussed at the summit will shape the future and character of the EU, thinks Agricultural and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (an SNS nominee). “Confidence among consumers in the EU and its institutions is at stake. Therefore, it’s our duty to come up with solutions to people’s everyday problems.”

According to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the problems run deeper than just double quality standards. “The crux of the problem is that such a practice treats some Europeans like second-class citizens,” he pointed out, adding that Czech studies and an analysis have established the need to address the situation with legislation. “In the Czech Republic’s view, the solution lies in a revision of the directive on unfair business practices.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the quality of foods and products is a matter of trust, which is difficult to win but easy to lose. “Trust, particularly in eastern European countries, is linked to a fundamental sense of truth and justice. With double standards in product quality, however, people not only feel that they’re losing money; they also have a sense of suffering a defeat in the realm of justice,” he said.

This view was echoed by Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, who added that double quality standards thus pose a serious problem. “It’s difficult to comprehend that such a phenomenon exists on the joint European market. This practice must be discontinued because it’s detrimental,” she stated.