TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: More changes at borders, former PM has a new address

Schools should open for some pupils as of Monday, February 8. All four candidates have been recommended for the Special Prosecutor's Office.

Illustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

This is the overview of news that happened in Slovakia on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. The Today in Slovakia digests are prepared at the end of every weekday free of charge. If you want to support our work, please buy our online subscription, which will give you access to our entire content. Thank you.

Neighbouring states impose stricter rules on borders

In an attempt to prevent the spread of new mutations of the coronavirus, the Czech Republic and Austria will impose stricter measures at the borders and limit travel within both countries. Hungary has prolonged border checks.

Everyone travelling to the Czech Republic who has spent more than 12 hours in Slovakia in the past 14 days will be obliged to fill in an electronic document before entering the Czech Republic, which can be found here.

You must have a negative test result when crossing the border and must stay in home isolation. After five days, you have to undergo another round of the testing. Moreover, in the first ten days after arrival, you are required to wear a respirator everywhere except home, even after you test negative.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer confirmed that cross-border commuters will be obliged to register upon arrival like other travellers and they will have to show a negative PCR test result once a week, Czech newswire ČTK informed.

Cross-border commuters working in Austria will be obliged to register and provide their contact information via a document that is accessible in German or English on https://www.oesterreich.gv.at.

Czech Republic will impose stricter measures at bordersRead more 

Fico moved to another luxurious address

Robert Fico, a longtime former PM and leader of the now opposition Smer, is renting a flat from his colleague and Smer MP Dušan Muňko. The luxurious residence Sokolská, near the Slavín monument in Bratislava, is worth more than half a million euros.

Fico has faced journalists' questions about his living whereabouts before because, in the past, he chose residences that he could not afford with his declared income as prime minister.

Fico moved into the apartment on the top floor of the Sokolská Residence on January 5, Muňko claims. He is paying his fellow Smer MP between a thousand and two thousand euros in rent, according to Muňko, who said he bought the property for about €600,000.

The flat spreads over an area of about 80 square metres, with a terrace of more than 130 square metres. The price of rent could be a result of the situation on the real estate market in the capital, Ján Palenčár, President of the National Association of Real Estate Agencies, told Sme.

After Bonaparte, Fico rents another luxury flat owned by his party colleagueRead more 

Photo of the day:

Coronavirus-related news:

  • Ján Ačai, a 63-year-old rescuer of Rescue Service Košice, died of COVID-19 on February 1. He worked in Moldava nad Bodvou.
  • The Public Health Authority tested 113 positive samples from January and the end of December for the British strain. They found the B.1.1.7 mutation in 27 percent of all samples. The majority of these samples were from the east and north-west of the country.

Feature story for today:

What impact did the coronavirus pandemic have on the business service centres (BSC) sector in Slovakia and what impact did the pandemic have on the lack of qualified labour force the BSCs in Slovakia have been complaining of?

Business and shared service centres are used to working remotely and use the latest technology in their operations. The pandemic has thus not been as much of a blow as in other sectors, say the people who represent the sector in Slovakia.

Going remote and still meeting customers’ demands. Business centres adapt to the pandemic situation Read more 

In other news:

  • Schools should open for some pupils as of Monday, February 8. Children should return to kindergartens and pupils of the first through fourth years of primary schools should return to schools. Their parents and teachers must present a negative test result. Students of the final years of secondary vocational schools may return as well.
  • Experts and ministers have agreed to tighten some rules for the Covid automat warning system.
  • Former State Secretary Monika Jankovská's attorney Peter Erdős said after a visit in the hospital that Jankovská attempted to commit suicide. (TASR)
  • The only candidate running for the first chair of Supreme Administrative Court is Jaroslav Macek.
  • Jozef Brhel, who is believed to be an oligarch with ties to Smer and one of the most influential persons in the energy business, has been detained after interrogation. He arrived in a private plane at Vienna airport on Monday evening. He is charged with establishing an organised group whose aim was to profit from IT orders at the Financial Administration.
  • On February 1, the requirement for launching immediate payments in Slovakia was fulfilled. Such payments should be launched in a year, on February 1, 2022. On this date, three banks are expected to launch the payments: Slovenská Sporiteľňa, VÚB and Tatra bank. Others will join later.
  • The average price of real estate increased by 11.9 percent in 2020 when compared to 2019, showed an analysis of National Bank of Slovakia. Prices have grown the most in Bratislava Region, Banská Bystrica Region and Prešov Region, while in other regions, prices have stagnated or dropped a bit.
  • The Slovak police discovered almost 700,000 smuggled cigarettes at the border crossing Vyšné Nemecké – Užhorod. Financial evasion on tolls and taxes totals more than €115,600.
  • The public grilling of the candidates for the Special Prosecutor's Office is over. Members of the parliamentary committee recommended all four candidates: Peter Kysel, Daniel Lipšic, Ján Šanta and Vasiľ Špirko. The election in parliament is expected to take place during the next session, most likely next week.

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