News digest: Swarms of tourists descend on Tatras, two energy giants make a deal

Read your overview of news from Slovakia on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Thursday, July 30, 2020. If you appreciate our work, buy our online subscription. Thank you for your support.

Cattle Breeder investigators leaving the police

Two leading investigators who have been working on the high-profile corruption case, known under the code name Cattle Breeder, are leaving the police corps, the Sme daily reported, citing two independent police sources.

The corruption case, which involves bribes of tens of millions of euros, has already landed influential businesspeople linked to the ruling parties of the former ruling coalition, Smer and SNS, in pre-trial custody.

There are concerns that the departure of the experienced officers might hinder the investigation.

Big energy deal announced

Semi-state regional energy monopolies ZSE and VSE will join under one owner.

This is the biggest deal in Slovakia's energy sector since 2015 when the Italian ENEL agreed with the Czech-Slovak group EPH upon the sale of the dominant electricity producer Slovenské Elektrárne, the Denník N noted.

The state will not exercise its preemptive right to acquire VSE Holding shares, and should thus receive €35 million. While a former minister criticises this approach as putting the state in the position of a by-stander, Economy Minister Richard Sulík said it is "not a small thing".

Tatras swarmed by tourists

The fear of the novel coronavirus infection, the limitations on international travel and the calls on the people of Slovakia to vacation in their home country has resulted in "traffic jams" in the most popular tourist routes in the Tatras.

In other news:

  • The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Slovak labour market comparable to last economic crisis in 2009. The most affected groups of workers are those with low-end jobs, the Finance Ministry analysts wrote in the their study Labour Market during Quarantine.
  • Travellers arriving in Slovakia from a risky country can register with the health authorities through an online form. Here is what you need to know.
  • Slovakia reports 20 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. As of today, there are 562 active cases in the country. More coronavirus in Slovakia stats here.
  • Due to the unfavourable epidemiological situation in the region, the central-Slovak city of Prievidza does not recommend holding mass events with more than ten persons in attendance. The local cultural centre has cancelled all their events until the end of the summer.
  • An extensive fire, the largest since the establishment of the national park, erupted in the High Tatras on the last weekend of July 2005, damaging nearly 229 hectares of forest. This is how it looked 15 years ago.
  • The Supreme Court has re-issued the European arrest warrant for Jozef Majský. The police have subsequently launched a search for Majský who has been sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday for his involvement in the 1990s embezzlement cases. Majský is currently residing in the Czech Republic. He is also a Czech citizen. The Czech authorities can now extradite him to Slovakia or he can serve his prison sentence there.
  • Five IT projects must be scrapped and 48 should be rewritten, the Investment Ministry announced after the audit of 53 IT projects worth cumulatively €740 million. The savings might be up to €158 million. (TASR)
  • The Health Ministry says it is still up for debate whether COVID-19 vaccination should be compulsory in Slovakia or not, depending on the parametres and the profile of the vaccine, as well as the reactions to the vaccine from the public.

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