Operators of fitness centres blocked a highway to Bratislava (news digest)

Slovakia launched discussions with its neighbours to loosen the regime on their mutual borders.

The owners of fitness centres slowed down the traffic on the D1 highway on May 25.The owners of fitness centres slowed down the traffic on the D1 highway on May 25. (Source: SITA)

This is your overview of news from Monday, May 25.
For your overview of last week’s events, read Last Week in Slovakia.

Coronavirus in Slovakia

  • Only two people tested positive for the coronavirus on May 24, but the number of tests was also low, reaching only 645. The number of recovered patients has exceeded 1,300. Read more detailed statistics here.
  • Altogether 1,302 people have already transitioned to home quarantine. As many as 562 repatriates went directly after crossing the borders, using the app launched over the weekend. Some updates have had to be made, since people were complaining about some questions in the application form.
  • The building of the Interior Ministry in Bratislava had to be closed and disinfected as one of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus. He and another employee who shared an office with him/her were put in isolation, the ministry confirmed. (Nový Čas)
  • The group of experts have updated some rules introduced in the fourth phase of liberating the anti-coronavirus measures. They will come into force on May 27.

Slovakia is the most desired bride.

PM Igor Matovič on further relaxation of regime on Slovakia’s border crossings.

Discussion on borders

  • Slovakia and the Czech Republic agreed on allowing their citizens to enter the territories of both countries without the need to show a negative COVID-19 test and undergo a mandatory quarantine if they return within 48 hours. The same will go for Czechs living in Slovakia and Slovaks living in the Czech Republic who will travel to one or the other country.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS nominee) has asked his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary to allow Slovak citizens to enter their territory without the need to show a negative COVID-19 test, pointing to a favourable epidemiological situation in Slovakia. The coordination of steps when easing the border regimes was the main topic if a video-conference between Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary held on May 25. Korčok said that the opening of borders will depend on the epidemiological situation. His Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg admitted that Austria will probably fully open its borders with Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary in mid-June. (SITA, TASR)

Operators of fitness centres blocked the highway

  • Protesting against the decision of keeping indoor sport venues closed for individuals, the owners of fitness centres organised a demonstration on May 25. Unlike their original plan to block the cross-country D1 highway on the direction to Bratislava to paralyse transport, they opted for slowing down transport.

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) invited the representatives of the Union of Slovak Fitness Centres, at which they agreed to respecting the decision of the group of experts who announced later that day that indoor sports venues for the public will open on June 3. Matovič also presented a plan to help indoor sports venues, for example via vouchers for people who usually do not visit them. Pavol Kiseľ of the union stressed that the whole protest was apolitical, responding to some reports of a van with stickers of the far-right Kotlebovci – People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS) leading the queue on the highway.

Prior to the protest, Matovič criticised the planned protest on Facebook, presenting a possibility of submitting an amendment toughening up rules for organising and holding protest events and introducing a new crime in order to protect main roads and prevent great economic damage resulting from limited movement and transport of goods. His plans have been opposed by some of his coalition partners, for example Deputy Speaker of Parliament Juraj Šeliga (Za Ľudí). Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) responded carefully, claiming that it is necessary to first evaluate whether it is really necessary to introduce a new crime into legislation. (Denník N)

Courts and prosecution

  • The district court in Nitra issued a verdict in the Mariatchi case, sending the four defendants to prison for four to five years. It found them guilty of disorderly conduct and an attempt to cause a serious bodily harm. The fifth defendant was given a condition for disorderly conduct. The verdict is not valid yet as their lawyer plans to appeal. (MY Nitra)
Related articleFirst sentence in the neo-Nazi attack on the Mariatchi bar is valid Read more 
  • The prosecutor brought charges against Jozef Radič, accused of murdering lawyer Ernest Valko. Back in November 2010, he entered the lawyer’s house with one other culprit and shot him to death. (TASR)
  • The investigator of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) has submitted a proposal to charge Štefan Agh in the case of falsifying the promissory notes issued for the private broadcaster TV Markíza. Agh was originally charged alongside Marian Kočner and Pavol Rusko, but was later excluded for a separate proceeding. Kočner and Rusko have been sentenced to 19 years in prison, but the verdict is not valid yet. (SITA)

Economy and business news

  • The Anti-monopoly Office fined the Grafobal Group Development and Bratislavská Vodárenská Spoločnosť companies for violating the law on economic competition when taking a control over the Infra Services company in May 2019. The former was fined €27,000, and the latter with €1,000.
  • The state borrowed €135 million in treasury bills due in May 2021. The average interest rate amounted to -0.2 percent. The overall demand of investors was almost 14 times higher than the final amount, reaching €1.889 billion. (ARDAL)
  • 3,424 new passenger cars were registered in Slovakia in April 2020, down 64.5 percent year-on-year. The number of newly registered passenger vehicles dropped between January and April 2020 by more than 10,000 in annual terms, causing a loss of about €200 million. The registration of new small commercial vehicles has dropped the most since 1995, when it fell by 58.15 percent y-o-y. The most sold car in the passenger vehicles category is Škoda, with a market share of 22.52 percent. (SITA)
  • The Slovak Agricultural and Food Chamber (SPPK) has launched a large monitoring of damages caused by this year’s weather. This includes night freezes, long-term extreme drought, local hail and abundant animals. (TASR)

Also on today:

Related articleProblematic state quarantine faces complaint in the Constitutional Court Read more 

Related articleCoronavirus crisis shines spotlight on education problems Read more 

Related articleBlog: We can't close our eyes to the inequality accentuated by COVID-19 Read more 

Related articleCoolest in Bratislava: Devín Castle Read more 

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