TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

Flights between Košice and Vienna restored (news digest)

Controversial bank levy will change, unemployment keeps growing. Read your overview of news from June 22, 2020.

First passengers from Vienna arrived in Košice on June 22, 2020.First passengers from Vienna arrived in Košice on June 22, 2020. (Source: TASR)

Take a look at what happened in Slovakia on Monday, June 22, 2020. This daily news overview service is free of charge for our readers. If you want to help us continue doing our work the best we can, you can become our subscriber. Thank you for your trust.
For a weekly overview with comments, take a look at the latest Last Week in Slovakia published this afternoon.

Independent culture gets a boost

Altogether 111 independent culture and art projects in the Bratislava Region will be supported by €300,000. Aid amounting to €150,000 was allocated from individual donations of the region’s governor, an alternative to the prime minister’s reserve. Another half will come from the Tatra Banka Foundation. “The expert jury assessed the projects and picked 111,” said Bratislava Self-Governing Region’s Governor, Juraj Droba.

Representatives of the Trnava Region will support independent culture with €165,000. Apart from subsidies for independent culture projects amounting to €100,000, two regional galleries will receive €40,000 to purchase the works of Slovak artists, while regional libraries will buy books from small publishing houses for €10,000 and the Ján Palárik Theatre will support freelance artists by giving them parts in its prepared performance, said governor Jozef Viskupič.

Two more coronavirus sources occurred

Only 41 COVID-19 tests were carried out on June 21, of which one was positive. The number of deaths and recovered patients has remained the same for several days in a row. See more detailed statistics here.

Meanwhile, two infection sources have been revealed in the centre of Spišské Podhradie (Prešov Region). Altogether 46 people have returned to the town from the UK since June 6. The homecomers are expected to be gradually tested. The situation is currently being discussed by the crisis staff.

Meanwhile, infection closed schools in Čadca and Krásno nad Kysucou (Žilina Region). The Regional Public Health Authority in Čadca is already informing parents about the testing of pupils and school employees, said Mayor Milan Gura.

In the meantime, several pupils of primary and secondary schools returned to school desks on June 22. The sixth to ninth grades of primary schools and secondary schools will be opened until June 30, with attendance being voluntary.

Flights between Košice and Vienna restored

The Austrian Airlines company has restored regular flights between Vienna and Košice. The first 30 passengers arrived in the eastern Slovak city on June 22, and 10 flew back to the Austrian capital.

The flights will be dispatched four times a week, with the frequency being expected to increase to 13 flights a week in autumn.

Controversial levy will change

The controversial bank levy, doubled and prolonged indefinitely by the previous ruling coalition, will change. Instead of paying 0.4 percent of banks’ liabilities, banks will now be more active in restoring the country’s economy after the coronavirus crisis, as stems from a joint agreement signed by the representatives of the Finance Ministry and the banks in Slovakia on June 22.

€1 billion already paid to the state will now be sent to the Development Fund for Slovakia, and it will be possible to use it on various projects.

In return, banks have promised to withdraw the lawsuits and reduce the dividends paid to the shareholders.

Banks are not enemies, but part of our ecosystem comprised of people, banks, companies and employers who give jobs to people. It wouldn’t work without banks.

PM Igor Matovič after signing the memorandum with banks.

In other news

  • A woman missing since the December 2019 gas explosion in Prešov has been declared dead. The district court set the date of death at December 6, 2019. She is the eighth official victim of the explosion in the block of flats. (TASR)
  • The most honest politician in Slovakia is President Zuzana Čaputová, whose trustworthiness increased from October’s 42 percent to more than 61 percent. On the other hand, the biggest liar among politicians is Smer chair Robert Fico. Only 9.5 percent of respondents in the recent Focus poll carried out for the Na Telo programme of the TV Markíza broadcaster said he tells the truth.
  • Travel agencies are ready to organise holiday trips to safe countries. Currently, it is possible to travel to 23 European countries without restrictions. The Foreign Affairs Ministry does not recommend travelling to countries not on the safe list. As travel agencies expect the list to be gradually extended, they are also offering trips to countries where travel is not currently possible. (SITA)
  • The Interior Ministry should have medical material worth €19.776 million at its disposal to fight the coronavirus. This stems from the frame agreement to purchase medical and pharmaceutical material and protective equipment, in order to fight the spread of the virus to secure the primary protection of the Police Corps, the Fire and Rescue Corps, and other Interior Ministry employees.
  • The testimony of former judge Vladimír Sklenka, who collaborated with the police during the Búrka (Storm) police operation, may last several days. He was transported to the Nitra-based headquarters of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) on the morning of June 22, and did not talk to journalists.
  • Ján Šanta, the prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office submitted to the Specialised Criminal Court a lawsuit against Štefan Agh in the case of forged promissory notes. Agh was originally accused alongside Pavol Rusko and Marian Kočner, but the court later decided to hold a separate proceeding with him. The chamber will be the same as the one judging Rusko and Kočner, sentencing them to 19 years in prison.
  • The army will help municipalities in northeastern Slovakia stricken by floods on Friday, June 19. Soldiers will help clean the stream bed in the village of Pichne (the Snina district in Prešov Region), and a pontoon bridge will be transported to the village of Zubné (the Humenné district in Prešov Region). (TASR)
  • The unemployment rate, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, keeps increasing in Slovakia while analysts expect the growth to reach its peak only in autumn. May’s registered unemployment, i.e. the rate of those job seekers able to take a job immediately, amounted to 7.2 percent or 219,159, up by 0.63 percentage points or 19,504 people month-on-month and by 2.32 p.p. or by 64,000 people year-on-year, according to data published by the Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Centre (ÚPSVR) on June 19.
  • The number of visits in accommodation facilities dropped by 98.5 percent. There were some 6,700 guests in April, down from last year’s 440,000. Tourism belongs among the most affected economic fields in Slovakia affected by measures to stop the coronavirus pandemic from spreading. The statistics were impacted by the closure of tourism operations and radical travel restrictions at both the national and international level.
  • Slovenská Sporiteľňa bank will dismiss about 5 percent of its employees by the end of this year, and another 5 percent next year. This decision is part of its plan to save €5 million on expenses. Most people will leave headquarters in Bratislava. (Index)
  • The Debt and Liquidity Management Agency (ARDAL) sold treasury bills with maturity in May 2021 for €220 million. The demand of investors amounted to as much as €1.223 billion. (TASR)
  • The Divadelná Nitra theatre festival will be held as originally planned, on September 25 to 30, 2020. The original programme based on a varied selection of foreign performances has been limited as nobody can say how the world will be functioning in a few months. As a result, bigger space will be given to Slovak theatres and local artists.

Also on Spectator.sk today:

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