In recent days, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) has faced criticism for a video in which he compares food prices in the Czech Republic and in Germany. It comes to the unsurprising conclusion that it is possible to make a purchase more advantageously across the borders. Government spokesman Václav Smolka told Aktuálně.cz that the video fits into Fial’s long-term activities. He believes that pressure on producers and sellers will translate positively into price reductions.
“Mr. Prime Minister has long advocated for lower prices and higher quality of food on the shelves of Czech stores. Especially with regard to inflation and the parallel increase in the profits of a number of food companies. That is why in the past months he repeatedly negotiated with the largest manufacturers, farmers and representatives of chains. The video is part of these activities,” explained spokesman Smolka.
At the end of the video, Fiala announced that he would take his findings from the purchase to the manufacturers, especially the international firms, and ask them for a public explanation. Smolka confirmed that the prime minister plans to meet with large producers soon and wants to resolve with them the differences between food sold in the Czech Republic and abroad.
“It has already been proven in the past that systematic public pressure on manufacturers and sellers is positively reflected in price reductions. We will continue this pressure,” he added.
Fiala’s video is criticized by opposition politicians and political scientists, and jokes are made about it on social networks. Karel Komínek from the Institute of Political Marketing justified this, among other things, by the fact that viewers will not understand from the video why it was created just now. It would make sense if the government was planning follow-up steps and wanted to actively address the issue.
In addition, the style in which the prime minister acts in the video reminds him strikingly of the chairman of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš. However, according to him, it does not seem authentic with Fiala, and this style of presentation cannot be successful in the long term.
“From the point of view of form, it’s Andrej Babiš one to one. But Andrej Babiš’s voting group wants a person to stand up in his place and, for example, wear masks to individual hospitals like during covid (Babiš only promised this step, but did not fulfill it, note. ed.). Petr Fiala’s voters expect the prime minister to deal with more dramatic issues than the more expensive Nutella,” Komínek assessed, referring to the passage in which Fiala points out to the camera that the price of this chocolate spread is almost double in the Czech Republic.
Dana Večeřová, president of the Food Chamber, pointed out that in Germany the VAT rate for food is lower, namely seven percent. A reduced rate of 15 percent applies in the Czech Republic. According to her, Czech food producers also face high energy prices, which also increases prices as a result.
“Prime Minister Fiala’s video shopping trip to Germany gives me the impression that the Prime Minister wants Czechs to go shopping abroad more often and thus increase the sales of local stores,” wrote Večeřová on the X network.
However, the increase in prices is often also due to higher profits for farmers, processors and especially sellers. Some food prices even doubled in one year, even though the prices of energy and some raw materials have already returned to their original level. A special working group at the Ministry of Agriculture is also investigating who got the most rich from price increases. Aktuálně.cz offered a detailed comparison some time ago.
Video: Petr Fiala went shopping in Germany to compare food prices
Prime Minister Petr Fiala went shopping in Germany to compare food prices. | Video: Facebook/Petr Fiala