Last week, Czech lawmakers approved legislation requiring shops to sell mainly domestically made food that would benefit Czech producers. This action will potentially put the country on a collision course with the European Commission over EU single market rules.
The measure stipulates that shops larger than 400 m2 must as of next year offer at least 55% of items that can be locally produced like fruit, vegetables, milk or meat. The proportion would rise gradually to 73% in 2028.
The quotas are a part of a bill aimed at preventing double standards in food, an issue that some eastern members of the European Union have pursued for years, contending that inferior food products unwanted by consumers in richer western EU states were being sold in poorer eastern markets.
"Let's be nationalists a bit when it comes to food, Czech agriculture and our country," Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman told parliament with respect to the legislation, which still must pass parliament's upper house. Opponents said quotas would give windfall profits to large domestic producers, raise prices, cause shortages and violate EU internal market rules which could lead to sanctions.
Photo source: Cssd.cz