Bus and train carriers restore connections from Slovakia (news digest)

Slovenia opens borders, Slovakia can participate in EU programme worth billions. Your overview of news from June 8.

ZSSK dispatched the first trains to the Czech Republic on June 8.ZSSK dispatched the first trains to the Czech Republic on June 8. (Source: SITA)

This is your overview of news from June 8.
For a commented weekly overview, take a look at the latest Last Week in Slovakia published this afternoon.

More countries open

  • Slovaks can now also freely travel to Slovenia, the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry stated on its website. No confirmation or negative COVID-19 test is required. People still cannot enter the country onboard international buses or trains. It is possible to enter Slovenia via selected airports.
  • Following the opening of state borders with the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, a state and smart mandatory quarantine is now in place only for homecomers from Ukraine and Poland. It is possible to cross the western and southern borders without any checks. (Denník N)
Related articleState borders between Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria are open Read more 

More buses and trains across borders

  • The FlixBus company renewed the operation of daily buses between Bratislava and Vienna on June 8, under strict hygienic measures, including the disinfection of vehicles, passengers and drivers, protective equipment, and changes when boarding and leaving buses. Passengers will be required to wear masks or cover their faces in a different way, while drivers will have to wear masks and gloves. There will be no sale of refreshments and no toilettes. The company plans to gradually add more connections.
  • The national train passenger carriers České Dráhy and ZSSK have restored the international train passenger transport between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with the first six trains being dispatched on June 8. The trains will be fully restored on June 9.
  • Other carriers like RegioJet and Slovak Lines have renewed international connections with the neighbouring countries.

New party leaders, coalition struggles, and EU SURE

  • President Zuzana Čaputová signed a law that will enable Slovakia to take part with guarantees in the SURE programme worth €100 billion. The EU wants to borrow it to member states countries to support employment or health care.
  • The junior coalition party Sme Rodina and its Transport Ministry want to nominate heads of the construction departments at the district authorities. These officials have a significant impact on thousands of construction proceedings. PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) has already talked about the ambition to appoint OĽaNO candidates to leading positions at all 72 district authorities. They are at eight places in regional capitals. Sme Rodina chair Boris Kollár claimed that they have not talk about the plan in the coalition yet. (Denník N)
  • Two parties held their congress on Saturday, June 6. The junior coalition party Sme Rodina confirmed Boris Kollár as its chair. There will be a change in the leading post in another party, non-parliamentary Progressive Slovakia (PS). The delegates selected Irena Bihariová to replace Michal Truban. The new chair wants PS to become an urban-style party.
  • State-run health insurer Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP) violated the law on public procurement several times back in 2015, the Public Procurement Office revealed. The procurement concerned services worth more than €1.3 million excluding VAT with the Bonul company, which was to guard the insurer’s workplaces. (TASR)

Kotleba trial adjourned until July

  • The Specialised Criminal Court judge Ružena Sabová set the date of another proceeding over the controversial cheques worth €1,488 to July 14. However, it is possible the proceeding will have to be delayed as Marian Kotleba, who has been charged with extremism, has complained about alleged bias. The motion will not be assessed by the Supreme Court.

Economy and business news

  • The district court in Bratislava pledged part of the shares of the Penta financial group in the private health insurer Dôvera. The company, represented by Dutch HICEE, lost the dispute with the state worth €0.5 billion and there was a threat that the Dutch shell company would not pay the court costs. If Penta loses the case, it either will have to pay €16 million to the state or the state will become the co-owner of Dôvera. (Denník N)
  • 24 European countries including Slovakia have agreed on collaborating to develop international train transport. They want to turn it into “an attractive alternative” for travelling medium distances that are not competitive enough. (Euractiv)
  • The US company Medline will build a new factory to produce surgical kits in Partizánske (Trenčín Region), recruiting about 600 people. Currently, it has a smaller operation in Bánovce nad Bebravou with some 200 people working in packing and distribution departments.
  • On June 5 the National Highway Company (NDS) launched work on the Bikoš tunnel, which is part of the 4.3-kilometre R4 express dual-carriageway. The construction will cost nearly €142.9 million. The two-tube tunnel with one-way operation will be 1,153 metres long and should be finished by June 2021. (SITA)

Noted Slovak cinematographer passed away

  • Noted Slovak cinematographer Igor Luther has died at the age of 77 years. He had collaborated with filmmakers like Juraj Jakubisko, Andrzej Wajda and Volker Schlöndorff. He also worked on The Tin Drum (1979), directed by Schlöndorff, which received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Disclaimer: The Penta financial group has a minority share in Petit Press, the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.

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