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Ed Hudgins

How Hungarian Milk Explains Brexit

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How Hungarian Milk Explains Brexit
By Edward Hudgins

June 24, 2016 -- A conversation I had a dozen years ago in Hungary about that country’s milk helps explain why the British voted to leave the European Union.

As part of the Hungarians’ efforts to transform their economy after communism, they planned to join the EU, which they saw as a more free-market-oriented alternative to the collapsed Soviet bloc.

But some policy folks I met with told me that one of their challenges concerned locally produced milk. It did not meet EU standards, so their dairies would have to go through a not-insignificant transformation. Furthermore, Hungarians liked their milk the way it was.

Were there health issues? Were people dropping in the streets of Budapest from lactose-related illnesses?

No! It was just that the EU wanted uniform standards for products across countries. Why not just label it “Magyar Milk”? I asked. Why not let consumers in Hungary, France, Italy, and elsewhere choose whether or not to buy “Magyar Milk”? Because Brussels said “No!”

EU free trade vs. ruling EU elites

The economic attraction of the earlier, postwar European Common Market was that it was creating a single market for goods and services. It eliminated tariffs and other barriers to commerce.

But the Hungarians were finding out that they were trading unelected masters in faraway Moscow for unelected regulators in faraway Brussels.

And the British people, fed up with decades of such regulators, have now said, “Enough!”

Most Brits backing Brexit no doubt understand that the EU is not a free trade zone... (Continue reason here.)

 

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