In March, the Visegrad Group prime ministers met to complain that some consumer goods are made with a different recipe in their region as compared to elsewhere in Europe. This week they did the same thing. In an update, they were mad last time, but now they are really really mad — and they mean it. Robert Fico is the maddest of all.
Fico is so mad that before the V4 summit even began he held a special press conference to show everybody his outrage. He is so mad that he took off his suit jacket and brought props to set up on a cute little table next to him (examples of offending brands of fabric softener, coffee, fish fingers). If the European Commission doesn’t do something very fast (it’s not clear what, but Fico needs to feel they are with him “in spirit”, he said), he is prepared to take unilateral action by limiting the food in state-run cafeterias to things sourced from Slovakia.
I don’t have any data to support this, but I am sure most Slovaks prefer domestically made coffee to say the kind imported from Italy? Right? Strong leader that he is, Mr. Fico might lead by example and be the first to switch.
At his press conference, Mr. Fico targeted Lenor fabric softener for criticism. It just isn’t good enough — or so he has heard.
“Our women have known for a long time already,” Fico the feminist said.
While it’s clear it has been awhile since the prime minister did his own laundry, it also seems like he doesn’t do much shopping. There are seven other brands of fabric softener available at Tesco’s online shop (Silan, Lovela, Poppy, Coccolino, Bupi, Springforce and Tesco’s own brand), and 61 different types of fabric softener in all. The same goes for the Jacobs coffee Fico tried to shame (62 other brands to choose from, a total of 306 types of coffee). Though there are only five other types of fish fingers that could replace the Iglo brand ones Fico doesn’t like, he might be able to go to another of the country’s grocery store chains — Kaufland, Billa, Coop Jednota, Lidl, Carrefour, Metro — if he needs more options.
Since the last time the V4 prime ministers met, the Hungarian government launched a mass anti-semitic propaganda campaign, the Poles have moved to dismantle their own judiciary and the Czech prime minister destroyed his own political career while setting his party up for a landslide loss in October elections. It’s true that Mr Fico has been comparatively less busy in the past four months — ignoring anti-corruption protests, not asking his Interior Minister to resign, not moving out of an apartment building owned by Ladislav Bašternák. Now we know he has been busy taste-testing fish fingers all this time.
I propose that the next V4 summit focus on the region’s low quality politicians.