Austerity on the side: EU hits restaurateurs with olive oil law

As if European Union bureaucrats don’t have enough on their hands trying to extinguish financial fires raging across the broken continent, they’ve now decided to take their unlimited powers to the holy of holies: EU eateries.

Yes, at a time when harsh austerity measures, delayed
retirements and high unemployment levels are pushing Europeans to
vent their outrage on the cobblestone streets, Brussels decided
this was the perfect time to impose strict new rules on how
restaurants serve olive oil to their customers.

Starting January 1, 2014, eateries will be prohibited from
serving olive oil to diners in the traditional glass jugs that have
been adorning European tables since at least the Middle Ages.
Instead, cafes, bistros and brasseries will be forced to provide
their patrons with pre-sealed, non-refillable containers that
cannot be easily recycled when empty.

Once upon a time, Europe set the standards on environmental
issues; now, it is behaving no matter than Little Jack Horner,
sticking its dirty fingers where they don’t belong. Yet it is
trying to convince the world that it really, honestly, truthfully
just wants to protect the health of the average EU diner, the same
group of people that was physically and morally assaulted by raw
austerity.

Remember a few months ago when the European Commission was busy
disassembling the EU’s world-class welfare system in order to pay
back the interest on central bank loans needed to rescue the
bankers — the same scoundrels who triggered the global financial
crisis in the first place? At that time, Brussels didn’t so much as
bat an eyelid about the health and well being of their fellow
Europeans.

Suddenly, however, EU ministers have decided to wage a war on
bad hygiene and sound traditions when many Europeans can’t afford a
bar of decent soap. They also say the move will help reassure
what’s left of their consumer base that the olive oil found in EU
restaurants has not been diluted with an inferior (Read: Less
expensive) product.

No wonder that critics say the rules, aside from boosting
profits of the biggest olive oil producing companies (small,
private proprietors need not apply), will increase the frustration
felt by many towards a Brussels bureaucracy machine that is already
seen to be out of touch with the issues affecting ordinary
Europeans.

“If the European Union was logical and properly run, people
wouldn’t be so anti-Europe,”
said Marina Yannakoudakis, a
British Conservative member of the European Parliament, as quoted
by Reuters. “But when it comes up with crazy things like this,
it quite rightly calls into question their legitimacy and
judgment.”

Yannakoudakis said the new measures highlighted how out of touch
Brussels’ priorities are.

Ironically, the Eurozone countries worst affected by the euro
crisis – Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal — where unemployment
levels are sky-high, are also the continent’s largest olive oil
producers. It remains to be seen how the new legislation will
affect the small olive oil producers in those already pressed
economies.

German newspaper Sueddetsche Zeitung called the plan as “the
weirdest decision since the legendary curvy cucumber
regulation”,
referring to former EU rules governing the shape
of fruit and vegetables found in supermarkets.

Enzo Sica, owner of Italian restaurant Creche des Artistes close
to the EU quarter of Brussels, said the rules would prevent him
from buying his extra virgin olive oil direct from a traditional
supplier in Italy.

“They say they’re thinking about consumers, but this will
increase costs for us and our customers as well,”
he told
Reuters.“In this time of crisis, surely they should be worrying
about other things rather than stupid stuff like this.”

Although Brussels’ olive oil ruling isn’t quite as inflammatory
as was Marie Antoinette’s unfortunate quip, “Let them eat
cake,”
it does adequately show that EU ministers are
dangerously out of touch with the real issues now affecting
millions of people across the Eurozone.

Robert Bridge, RT

Robert Bridge is the author of the book,
Midnight in the American Empire
, which discusses
the dangers of extreme corporate power in the United
States.

This article originally appeared on : RT