News digest: Politicians welcome rolling review of Sputnik V, but coalition crisis not solved

Former state secretary released from prison and immediately detained again. France will donate 15,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to Slovakia.

Health Minister Marek Krajčí and PM Igor Matovič shaking hands in front of cargo plane with Sputnik V supplies on March 1. (Source: SITA)

This is the Thursday, March 4, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

Coalition crisis is no closer to an end

The coalition council meeting held on the evening of March 3 brought no answers, as the leaders of the four ruling parties agreed they will continue discussions.

The meeting was convened after two coalition parties, Za Ľudí and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), openly criticised PM Igor Matovič and his style of governing, asking for a cabinet reshuffle to calm the situation.

The Sme Rodina party, led by Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár, said that they are open to discussing some reshuffles in the government. The party leadership is set to meet on March 10 to discuss the current situation and its attitudes to solutions.

The fate of the coalition remains unclear after evening meeting Read more 

Politicians welcome rolling review of Sputnik V

Even though the tense situation in the coalition has been on-going for several months, it escalated after the purchase of the Sputnik V vaccines that were brought to Slovakia without EMA registration and were welcomed by the PM at Košice airport.

The EMA announced on March 4 that a rolling review process of the Sputnik V vaccine has started. If the EMA’s human medicines committee decides that the data provided by the requesting party is sufficient, the requesting party may submit an official request for registration to the EMA.

The chair of coalition party, Za Ľudí, wrote on Twitter that for now it is enough to wait for approval and then the vaccine can be used normally, as her party suggested from the beginning.

“This way it can be done without bending the rules, or creating a circus and transferring the responsibility to doctors,” Remišová wrote.

Even if EMA grants registration to Sputnik V, this may not solve the coalition crisis. SaS chairman Richard Sulík said that even after a year in government, the prime minister still does not understand that it is impossible to govern the country via Facebook.

Rolling review of Sputnik by EMA begins, a move welcomed by Slovak politiciansRead more 

New rules

Although several new, stricter anti-pandemic rules, on which the cabinet agreed on the evening of February 28, came into force on the morning of Wednesday, March 3, the respective ordinance by hygienists was missing. It was issued only on Wednesday evening.

Check which measures apply in Slovakia.

New rules came into force, but ordinance published late Read more 

Photo of the day:

Covid and vaccination news:

  • The first Slovak patients have been taken to hospital in Gorlice in Poland. With the help of Romanian healthcare workers and with the help of the University Hospital in Bratislava, the National Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases has been successful in creating new beds with lung ventilators for patients with difficult Covid-19 development, said State Secretary Peter Stachura.
  • Slovakia will receive 15,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from France as a gift, PM Igor Matovič wrote on Facebook. “Today, France has made a gesture of friendship and European solidarity towards Slovakia, in a difficult epidemiological situation,” the PM wrote.

Feature story for today:

It is natural for states in Europe to support the education and culture of their peoples, regardless of borders. But this support must not be on condition of loyalty to political representation and should not become a tool in order to cling to power.

The support system, as wielded by Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán, divides people into loyal ethnic Hungarians worthy of help or traitors to their nationality. In his scheme, being a good Hungarian means turning a sympathetic ear to Orbán's illiberal democracy.

How Viktor Orbán exports his ideology Read more 

Other news:

  • Police detained former Justice Ministry state secretary Monika Jankovská after the Supreme Court released her from custody. The police were waiting for the accused in front of the hospital for detainees in Trenčín. Her latest detention is related to the Fatima case.
  • Retail sales decreased by 16.8 percent y-o-y in January. The Statistic’s Office stated this was the deepest slump since 2009. Sales decreased in all nine monitored retail activities while in four of them the decline hit an all-time low.
  • The European Commission has approved a scheme for Slovakia to support combined heat and power plants. Slovakia plans to spend more than a billion euros on projects over 15 years. (TASR, EC)
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Hungarian Ambassador to explain the proceedings during the visit of the Hungarian Minister Péter Szijjártó in connection with the amendment to the Citizenship Act. "We want to have good neighbourly relations with Hungary, but I will not allow interference in our internal affairs," said Ivan Korčok.

Do not miss on today:

Júlia Hanuliaková: From campaigner against animal captivity to zoo director Read more  Matovič should bear in mind that Orbán courts Slovakia's Hungarians Read more  Nationwide testing cost nearly €120 million Read more  People from Slovakia continue flying to exotic destinations despite curfewRead more  Pandemic has made logistics real estate attractive for investorsRead more  Still not enough flats in the capital, this year will not bring any changeRead more 

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