I haven?t seen much discussion here about some of the weirder effects of the May 1 EU expansion. As one of the representatives of ?New Europe? (a moniker I generally loath) that’s partly my fault, as I?ve had zero time to post recently.
I was unable to come up with any news links about the following topic, since every search involving ?rice? invariably spits out stories about Condoleezza Rice. But yesterday I heard a rumor that the price of rice (yes, rice) is going to shoot up something like 100% in the Czech Republic come May 1. Legions of Czech babičky ? the little old ladies that are the lifeblood of Czech society ? have therefore begun hoarding rice.
My initial reaction: What a load of hooey. I?ve seen stories on CNN about similar rumors spreading in, I believe, Estonia or Latvia, and they?re generally not true, and it?s only natural they should repeat here.
Regardless, this seems to confirm my opinion (which I?ve expressed a few times in this space) that the EU is doing a terrible job of selling itself to the accession countries, who genuinely want to believe that integration will bring something good, but are having a harder and harder time seeing past what’s perceived to be an over-regulation of everyday life.
As a Prague restaurant owner, I do know that ground beef is now much harder to come by compared to two months ago. (As a vegetarian, that?s fine with me; as a capitalist, it?s not.) The reason given by suppliers: New EU-imposed rules require meat suppliers to send weekly samples of ground beef to an outside testing agency, because if you?re buying 100% ground beef, you?re likely serving steak tartare, and you gotta be careful with that stuff. Now I’d always recommend our tasty tofu burger over the beef, but am I way out of my league by asking: Has anybody in Brussels ever heard of a hamburger? Who says you’re serving steak tartare just because you’re buying ground beef?
I hate to always be calling attention to the botched aspects of EU expansion, but I do so as a genuinely pro-integrationist non-European observer.