Central Europe tackles issue of lower quality consumer goods

A man walks past a board advertising a shop offering original German foods and detergents, reputed to be better quality than the same brands made for Polish market, in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The leaders of four Central European countries have cautiously welcomed European Union proposals to address their concerns that multinationals sell lower-quality versions of their foods to consumers in Central and Eastern Europe than in the West. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Passerby walk past a shop offering original German foods and detergents, reputed to be better quality than the same brands made for Polish market, in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The leaders of four Central European countries have cautiously welcomed European Union proposals to address their concerns that multinationals sell lower-quality versions of their foods to consumers in Central and Eastern Europe than in the West. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
From left to right: Prime Ministers Beata Szydlo of Poland, Bohuslav Sobotka of Czech Republic, Robert Fico of Slovakia and Viktor Orban of Hungary during their joint press conference after the Summit on Equal Quality of Products for All at the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The meeting of representatives of the European Commission and EU Agriculture Ministers will be on a 'double standards of food quality' in the European Union. (Tibor Illyes/MTI via AP)
From left to right: Prime Ministers Beata Szydlo of Poland, Bohuslav Sobotka of Czech Republic, Robert Fico of Slovakia and Viktor Orban of Hungary attend the joint press conference after the Summit on Equal Quality of Products for All at the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The meeting of representatives of the European Commission and EU Agriculture Ministers will be on a 'double standards of food quality' in the European Union. (Tibor Illyes/MTI via AP)
A biker rides past a board advertising a shop offering original German foods and detergents, reputed to be better quality than the same brands made for Polish market, in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The leaders of four Central European countries have cautiously welcomed European Union proposals to address their concerns that multinationals sell lower-quality versions of their foods to consumers in Central and Eastern Europe than in the West. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
People enter a shop offering original German foods and detergents, reputed to be better quality than the same brands made for Polish market, in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. The leaders of four Central European countries have cautiously welcomed European Union proposals to address their concerns that multinationals sell lower-quality versions of their foods to consumers in Central and Eastern Europe than in the West. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — The leaders of four Central European countries have cautiously welcomed European Union proposals to address their concerns that multinationals sell lower-quality versions of their foods to consumers in Central and Eastern Europe than in the West.

At a summit in Bratislava, Slovakia, EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova proposed new ways to compare the quality of food products across borders as she met with the leaders of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Consumer advocates and politicians in all four countries have long complained that inferior versions of food, detergents and cosmetics are sold in their countries. Some fish fingers, for example, contain less fish meat and more salt than in those sold in Western Europe under the same label.

While the nations' prime ministers welcomed the step, they said even more has to be done.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico called Jourova's proposal "useful" and said it "could help."

"I'm glad that the European Commission has presented a new methodology that would make it possible to better compare the quality of food," Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said. "But it's just the first step. We have to go much further at the European level."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his government "will wait" for the Commission's further steps.

The summit aimed to bridge a divide that has opened between Brussels and several of the new EU member states in Central Europe. A key point of conflict has been migration, but the issue of food quality has also generated tensions.

At the start of the one-day summit on Friday, Fico said "there's no place for second-category consumers" in the EU.

At the end, Fico called the meeting "a diplomatic success."

"I'm very satisfied with what we've achieved."

You may also interested in

Ex-Arab Israeli lawmaker sentenced in Israel

Apr 9, 2017

A former Arab Israeli lawmaker has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners held by Israel

Baghdad orders Kurdistan region to hand over borders, ports

Sep 24, 2017

Iraq's central government in Baghdad is ordering the country's Kurdish region to hand over all border crossings and airports to federal government control late Sunday night, hours before the region is set to carry out a controversial referendum

Flour furor: BBC loses rights to 'Great British Bake Off'

Sep 13, 2016

The fate of a sweet-toothed TV baking contest with millions of fans has left a sour taste with many Britons

People also read these

Ex-Arab Israeli lawmaker sentenced in Israel

Apr 9, 2017

A former Arab Israeli lawmaker has been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to smuggling cellphones to Palestinian prisoners held by Israel

Baghdad orders Kurdistan region to hand over borders, ports

Sep 24, 2017

Iraq's central government in Baghdad is ordering the country's Kurdish region to hand over all border crossings and airports to federal government control late Sunday night, hours before the region is set to carry out a controversial referendum

Flour furor: BBC loses rights to 'Great British Bake Off'

Sep 13, 2016

The fate of a sweet-toothed TV baking contest with millions of fans has left a sour taste with many Britons