published: 05.10.2012, 15:22 | updated: 05.10.2012 15:29:59
Bratislava - Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas can see no reason for Slovakia to further block the import and sales of hard spirits made in the Czech Republic, he told reporters in Bratislava today, adding that Prague has introduced new conditions for handling alcohol that ensure its safety.
"We´ve taken certain measures based on which alcoholic beverages made by renowned Czech producers are absolutely safe. They are on sale again in the Czech Republic, and we can´t see a single reason why the Slovak market should be closed to Czech-made spirits, notably those made by renowned producers," Necas said.
Necas is attending a Bratislava meeting of representatives of 15 EU countries and Croatia focusing on the preparation of the EU´s budget framework for 2014-2020.
Slovakia banned the sales of Czech-made liquors more than two weeks ago in reaction to a series of methanol poisonings by tainted hard alcohol in the Czech Republic.
Bratislava did not lift the ban even after the partial prohibition was softened in the Czech Republic last week.
Slovak Agriculture Minister Lubomir Jahnatek´s demand that importers should first return all Czech alcohol in Slovakia - some two million litres - back to the Czech Republic came under the criticism of liquor distributors.
They said the demand is impossible to meet and that the continuing Slovak blocking of Czech alcohol is a result of domestic producers´ pressure.
The Czech Food Chamber has threatened to Slovakia with an international arbitration.
Necas recalled that liquors with "a birth certificate" confirming their safe origin can be sold in the Czech Republic.
Alcohol distributors in Slovakia suggest that the same be made possible in Slovakia.
"We consider safety the highest importance priority. The fact that the ban has been lifted in the Czech Republic proves this. There is no reason for Slovakia to continue banning the import of Czech-made liquors," Necas said.
Slovakia is a significant importer of Czech alcohol. Czech producers occupy about one-quarter of the Slovak alcohol market.
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