Outside a supermarket in this small town, Dagmar Berkova gingerly loaded her sport-utility vehicle for the trip across the border to her home in the Czech Republic. Her prized cargo: five dozen eggs.
With Easter coming Sunday and egg prices surging as stricter European Union rules for chicken farmers take effect, people across Central and Eastern Europe are traveling to neighboring countries, visiting rural markets and raising hens to secure less-expensive supplies.
"We’re stocking up for the holiday," said Ms. Berkova, a 42-year-old pharmacist. Eggs in Poland cost about 40% less than in the stores near her house, she said. Ms. Berkova said 20 eggs were for her mother. The rest were for her family to decorate and eat for Easter.
Europe’s annual pre-Easter bump in demand, which usually makes eggs more expensive in February and March, is this year coinciding with a drop in supply as farmers adjust to the new EU rules mandating roomier cages for laying hens. The result: soaring prices.
In the Czech Republic, the average price of 10 fresh eggs in mid-March was €2.07 ($2.76), more than double what it was at the same time last year, according to the government statistics office. Prices also have more than doubled in Poland and Bulgaria.
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