When Slovakia joined the European Union (EU) in May, it seemed the bad old days of Stalinist food shortages and grim supermarket queuing had gone for good; but now butter shortages have hit the country, and EU accession is being blamed.

The resulting removal of trade barriers between Slovakia and its western neighbours has seen cheap Slovak butter pour into Austria and other richer countries, where better prices are available than at home.

Slovak supermarket shelves have been left bare of butter, with one large producer Sole Slovakia cutting domestic deliveries by 40%, reported Slovensko.com. It predicted butter price rises of 25-30% in the next few weeks.