News digest: Volkswagen unveils big investment, Bratislava prepares for protests

Slovakia’s nationwide testing as inspiration for Austria. New antigen testing sites open.

Bratislava will add Volkswagen Passat, along with Škoda Superb, to its portfolio. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia that happened on Monday, November 16, 2020. For a more detailed overview of the current affairs, check out our Last Week in Slovakia commentary, published earlier today.
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Volkswagen will produce Passats and Škoda Superb in Bratislava

The Volkswagen Passat, a large family car model of the German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen, will return to Bratislava. The plant will manufacture the latest generation of this iconic model as of 2023.

It will also produce the flagship of the Czech automotive industry, the Škoda Superb.

In total, the group plans to invest approximately €1 billion in Slovakia in the entire product range in the next five years. Of this sum around €500 million will go into the production of the Volkswagen Passat and Škoda Superb models.

Related articleNews digest: Volkswagen unveils big investment, Bratislava prepares for protests Read more 

Slovakia’s nationwide testing as inspiration for Austria

Austria might hold mass testing based on the Slovak model towards the end of its strict lockdown, which starts on November 17, as Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said during a broadcast of the public-service ORF.

More details should be revealed during the week.

When asked about the testing, the Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that they are first focusing on the efficient and effective implementation of the lockdown. He said that his primary goal is to protect and relieve intensive care units. The question of testing is still open.

Related articleAustria is considering mass testing à la Slovakia Read more 

Meanwhile, Slovak PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) has offered help to Austria, and also talked about testing with Kurz via a video call.

Protest against restrictions return to Bratislava

Several protests are scheduled to take place in the capital on November 17, when Slovakia celebrates the national holiday of the Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy.

Two should be held to show disagreement with the adopted coronavirus restrictions, and are expected to be attended by far-right ĽSNS and their supporters, as well as hooligans.

The police said that they are ready to intervene against the protesters, Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) announced during the weekend. He has also warned people about attending them, and reminded them of the fact that the country imposed a ban on public assemblies with more than six participants on October 13 and the national emergency is in place as well.

Related articlePolice say they will intervene against protesters, even MPs Read more 

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • 507 of 1,771 tests carried out on November 15 were positive, while 16 more people died and 534 have recovered.
  • The three rounds of the nationwide testing (two rounds plus pilot) in Slovakia cost about €30 million, said Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO), whose department was responsible for its organisation.
  • Several new antigen testing sites opened in Slovakia on November 16. Firefighters who help with the antigen testing have updated their list too.

Picture of the day:

Bratislava's Mlynské Nivy Street opened on November 16, after extensive reconstruction.

Feature story for today:

Earth-friendly approach can bring business success

Doing business with the environment in mind does not mean one needs to compromise profit or business success. On the contrary, several Slovak startups that apply an Earth-friendly approach say they see a growing demand for their product.

Clean technology, or cleantech, stretches across sectors, with companies focusing on fields like waste management, transport, and even drilling.

In other news

  • Labour Minister Milan Krajniak (Sme Rodina) presented the draft constitutional law on the pension system on Friday, November 13, which will now undergo an interdepartmental review. It suggests that people can retire after 40 years of working as well as automatic entrance to the second pension pillar and the valorisation of pensions with pension inflation.
  • The documents on the purchase of antigen tests for nationwide testing do not confirm suspicions of nepotism and exaggerated prices, ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko announced after reading the papers.
  • Although Dušan Kováčik stepped down from the post of special prosecutor, he remains the rank-and-file prosecutor at the Special Prosecutor’s Office, and still receives his salary. (Sme)
  • Bystrík Palovič is the first prosecutor to lose his position due to his close relations with mobster Marian Kočner. The decision was issued by the disciplinary commission led by Silvia Fabová on November 16. (Sme)
  • The wolf should become a protected species as of January 1, 2021, according to the amendment to the law on nature protection submitted by the Environment Ministry for an interdepartmental review.
  • New industrial orders rose by 4.8 percent year-on-year in September, amounting to €4.914 billion in total. After seasonal adjustment, they grew 4 percent month-on-month, according to the Statistics Office.
  • Altogether 59 trains operated by the state-run passenger carrier ZSSK and Austrian ÖBB will run between Bratislava, Dunajská Streda and Komárno from December 13. They will replace the trains currently operated by RegioJet.
  • The state borrowed €362 million in four state bonds auctions.
  • 498 people committed suicide in Slovakia last year. 40 percent of the suicides were related to the use of alcohol or drugs.

Don't forget that November 17 is a national holiday and most shops in Slovakia will be closed.

Also on today:

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