Press Advisories

2. 3. 2017 23:12

Prime Minister Sobotka: The V4 countries will act jointly and vigorously against dual quality foods in the EU

Press conference following the meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrad group countries, 2 March 2017.
Press conference following the meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrad group countries, 2 March 2017.
On Thursday 2 March 2017, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attended an extraordinary summit of the Visegrad countries in Warsaw. Representatives of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia agreed to adopt a stronger stand against dual quality foods in the EU and drew up a joint declaration for the annual EU summit in Rome on the future of the EU.

The main topic of today’s meeting between the V4 countries was dual quality foods in the single EU market. Prime Minister Sobotka and the Czech Government consider this topic to be crucial. Czech MEP Olga Sehnalová has repeatedly alerted EU bodies to this problem since 2011. The Czech Government joined this initiative in 2015 and also promoted this topic last year during its presidency of the Visegrad group. In June last year, materials were also sent to the European Commission containing the results of tests on foods in different Member States and, one month later, a Joint Statement by the agricultural ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Estonia was sent to European institutions.

“I am delighted that, today, all the countries in the Visegrad group, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, have sent a joint and clear appeal to the European Commission to say that dual quality foods in the EU is a serious problem and we want to solve it quickly and decisively. I find it unacceptable that two quality categories should be created for goods within the EU. The Czech Republic has long been active in addressing this problem, Czech MEP Olga Sehnalová warned about this issue back in 2011. I believe that, also because of today’s conclusions to the V4 summit, we will be able to arouse the European Commission to take vigorous measures. We have also agreed with the V4 leaders today that the European Commission should fulfil the European Parliament resolution of 2013. The Commission should commission a European analysis of dual quality foods and should propose specific legislative amendments to strengthen consumer protection and prevent practices which are clearly intended to deceive consumers,“ said Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

The second topic to today’s meeting involved preparations for the anniversary summit in Rome. The V4 prime ministers adopted a joint declaration as the Visegrad group’s contribution to the Rome Declaration, which representatives of the Member States will present at the anniversary summit in Rome at the end of March.

“I am convinced that the European Union must guarantee its citizens peace, prosperity, justice and also security. In today’s joint V4 declaration we set out clear priorities and steps to improve the European Union for its citizens. We place strong emphasis on maintaining the common European market, on maintaining the common Schengen area and on strong protection of external European borders, including emphasis on preserving the European Union itself. I believe that this contribution from the V4 will help the European Union as a whole to find a clear and common understanding in Rome,“ added Prime Minister Sobotka.

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