https://twitter.com/P_Fiala/status/1721240966907007065 Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s (ODS) comparison of food purchases in Germany and the Czech Republic gives the impression, according to Dana Večeřová, president of the Food Chamber of the Czech Republic, that the prime minister wants Czechs to go shopping abroad more often, thereby increasing the sales of local stores. Looking for a constructive solution to make food cheaper in the Czech Republic is much more difficult, she wrote on the X network on Tuesday. She also pointed to the lower VAT on food in Germany. Josef Mlejnek, a political scientist from the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University, sees Fial’s video as unsuccessful.
In his post on the social network, Fiala went shopping at retail chains in Germany and the Czech Republic. He bought milk, butter, bread or, for example, chocolate, Nutella chocolate spread, ketchup or a bottle of Coca-Cola. He said that the purchase in Germany cost less than 20 euros, i.e. about 500 crowns. In the Czech Republic, the same purchase cost him 60 crowns more. According to Fiala, the differences were small for some foods, but butter, for example, cost a third more in the Czech store. “Practically identical products from the same manufacturers are more expensive in the Czech Republic. In addition, they seem to have larger packaging in Germany,” he said.
“If the prime minister, i.e. the main representative of the executive power, goes shopping. He will find that in Germany the food is bigger, better quality and, above all, cheaper than here, and in the end he will just throw up his hands. He will say that the government has no control over pricing, but that will ask the relevant companies why this is so and will ask them for an explanation, it’s terribly wrong,” said Mlejnek in the video. He added that people expect the government to somehow intervene in such a case. “In other words, the Prime Minister should either use a ‘shopping video’ to announce an intervention, or avoid supermarkets in a big way,” he says.
Večerová pointed out that the VAT rate on food is significantly lower in Germany. In the Czech Republic, a reduced VAT rate of 15 percent applies to food. In Germany, the basic rate is 19 percent and a reduced rate of seven percent for selected goods, including food. The Food Chamber also said that Fiala was only doing a “show” with the shopping cart. Večeřová had previously criticized the fact that even after the cap on energy prices, Czech companies had one of the highest energy prices in Europe, which leads to higher production costs.
Last week, at a conference in the Chamber of Deputies, the president of the chamber also objected to repeated statements by Fiala and other members of his cabinet about the profits of food producers. They often emphasized, for example, the high profits of companies from the holding company Agrofert. According to Večeřová, the Chamber has calculated that the profit of food companies in the last ten years amounts to an average of 0.2 percent of their annual turnover. Last year, the profit of companies in various fields was at the level of two to five percent of their turnover. For example, Vodňanská drubež from the Agrofert group last year had a turnover of over seven billion crowns and a profit of 240 million, which corresponds to 3.4 percent of turnover. According to the annual report, the results of the company Madeta turned out similarly.