When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

food / travel

Doesn't The EU Have Anything *Butter* To Do?

The Czech answer to butter
The Czech answer to butter
Dietrich Alexander

The Luxemburg-based European Court of Justice ruled this week a product the Czechs call butter is not butter, which means that the beloved spread known as "pomazankove maslo" (“spreadable butter”) can no longer be labeled as such.

Non-Czechs would never have called it butter, which it bears no resemblance to – it doesn’t even really look like margarine. As chives, horseradish and paprika are often added to it, many would argue it was more like cream cheese.

But butter purists will be happy to learn the discussion is now moot, at least in the EU, because officially butter now has to contain at least 80% milk fat while the Czech spread doesn’t even contain 30% – the rest is sour cream and milk powder.

To say that the Czechs are not amused is an understatement: their take on the low-cost spread that has been produced since 1977 is that it is a "regional specialty." On average, every Czech consumes a kilo of it annually. Some 10,000 tons of it are produced every year – big business that the Bohemian-Moravian Dairy Product Association now perceives as threatened.

So now after years of legal wrangling with Brussels, it’s going to have to come up for a new name for the product -- "mlecna pomazanka," perhaps: it sounds similar to the old name and means something akin to “milk spread.”

Czech patriots, meanwhile, see the legal defeat as Czech culture being sold down the river to Brussels.

And their travails don’t end there. There’s also the matter of Czech rum distilled from grain and not -- as EU bureaucrats demand for the protected designation that is rum -- sugar cane.

No more "Tuzemsky Rum" is to be seen at liquor stores in the Czech Republic: only "Tuzemak."

These legalities "take bureaucracy to new heights,” one irate Czech citizen commented on the Internet. "The EU concerns itself with nonsense," grumbled another.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Economy

Why More Countries Are Banning Foreigners From Buying Real Estate

Canada has become the most recent country to impose restrictions on non-residents buying real estate, arguing that wealthy investors from other countries are pricing out would-be local homeowners. But is singling out foreigners the best way to face a troubled housing market?

Photo of someone walking by houses in Toronto

A person walks by a row of houses in Toronto

Shaun Lavelle, Riley Sparks, Ginevra Falciani

PARIS — It’s easy to forget that soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, many real estate experts were forecasting that housing prices could face a once-in-generation drop. The logic was that a shrinking pandemic economy would combine with people moving out of cities to push costs down in a lasting way.

Ultimately, in most places, the opposite has happened. Home prices in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand rose between 25% and 50% since the outbreak of COVID-19.

This explosion was driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, supply chain issues in construction and shortages in available properties caused in part by investors buying up large swathes of housing stock.

Yet some see another culprit deserving of particular attention: foreign buyers.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest