And it's not just about food. Shampoos, laundry detergents, dishwashing detergents, toothpastes, you name it. They all have inferior quality in Eastern Europe in a comparison with the same brands which are sold in Western Europe. And there is no reasonable justification for this.
Try washing your hair with a Head & Shoulders shampoo which is made in France, and then with the one which is made in Romania. You'll see what kind of garbage they're selling to us in EE. What pisses me off the most is that more often than not the price is the same or even higher than in WE.
If you happen to pass by a Lidl shop here in Bulgaria, buy the Lidl simple dark chocolate (the one in red foil, 100g). Bring it to, say, the Netherlands, and buy the same from the local Lidl. Make a blind test with your family. I was subjected to such. The Bulgarian chocolate was grainy and dry, like filled with chalk powder. The Dutch one was smooth and silky. No one can convince me that the majority of the people would prefer the Bulgarian chocolate. And the problem is not that the Lidl chocolate has to compete with Belgian chocolate in one country and Bulgarian chocolate in the other. There are other brands that the Lidl chocolate has to compete with such as Milka, Lindt, etc, and from my experience of eating these both in Bulgaria and abroad, their quality seems on par. Lidl have just decided to fill the "cheaper, but terrible quality brand" niche in Bulgaria. And this is not specific to chocolate. Of course Lidl doesn't have a secret chocolate factory somewhere. No, it just rebrands local cheaply produced chocolate. My point is, the excuse that there's no competition, or that there's a different type of competition, in fact isn't true.
For us in EE this is like an urban myth, a secret that everyone knows. We know it because a lot of people bring similar products from WE and we compare them, but only a minority has access to this. So far most governments have tried to stay out of this debate but it is good that some have gathered actual data to back it up now. Our governments are supposed to be defending their people's interests, no?
Also, people who say, "Don't buy it, stupid!", are cynical and ignorant, because there is no alternative and most goods even of lower quality are still of better value than what we might locally produce. But this doesn't hide the fact we are being conned.
Okay, so call me naive if you like, but why don't we make a European standard for all these products? And we just take one standard that should be valid everywhere? This is the European Union that we're talking about here after all, right? The entity that likes to put standards and regulations on everything. So why not use their prerogatives to do some actual good for ALL people in that union? That way all our stuff is of the same quality. Because this is wrong, unfair, unnecessary (?), and it divides us. Like the now proposed "Europe at two speeds" that would relegate certain countries to a second-rate citizen status in the presumably inclusive union.
If the problem is that quality control and consumer laws are less strict in poorer countries, and vendors do it because they can get away with it to increase profit margins, then why don't we make one standard? Is it because manufacturers will use the opportunity to raise prices more than meeting the standard would require and blame the price hike on the EU? Or partly because lazy journalists will sense a chance for outrage/sales-inducing headlines and decry the death of local food culture and diversity at the hands of "unelected EU bureaucrats"? But what if most people demand that those representatives of theirs protect their consumer rights?
I don't understand what kind of cancerous turds are in charge of all this? Can't they see that by putting double standards everywhere, they're basically burning their own bridges and undermining themselves?
This sort of stuff is exactly why the Euro-skeptic populists are winning everywhere. Hell, if this sort of hypocrisy goes out of hand, I might consider joining the Euro-skeptic camp myself at some point!