News digest: Turmoil within coalition and over vaccination

AstraZeneca batch under probe in Austria and Denmark not used in Slovakia. President wants Security Council committee to get involved after SIS director's arrest.

President Zuzana Čaputová accepted the resignation of Health Minister Marek Krajčí on Friday, March 12.President Zuzana Čaputová accepted the resignation of Health Minister Marek Krajčí on Friday, March 12. (Source: SME - Jozef Jakubčo)

This is the Friday, March 12, 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.

Check out the Spectacular Slovakia roundup for weekend reading tips

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Coalition still in crisis

Health Minister Marek Krajčí stepped down on Friday, despite the earlier claim by PM Igor Matovič (both OĽaNO) that he would only do so once the Sputnik V vaccine has been effectively added to the vaccination rollout in Slovakia.

Related articleCoalition crisis reignited, all options remain open Read more 

Finance Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) was appointed acting health minister until Krajčí's successor takes over. The name of the new minister has not been published yet.

Krajčí's resignation is the only result so far of the ongoing coalition crisis, which was expected to come to an end on Wednesday. PM Igor Matovič, however, blamed the partners for demanding what he called the "absurd resignation" of the health minister during the Thursday press conference. As a result, the junior coalition SaS and Za Ľudí said the negotiations were back to where they started and the crisis is not expected to be resolved until Monday.

Related articleHealth minister who compared himself to Jesus Christ is leaving Read more 

SIS director still in detention

Thursday's arrest of the intelligence services director further complicates the coalition crisis.

While PM Igor Matovič and his party OĽaNO have only commented along the lines that the police have their hands untied, President Zuzana Čaputová called on him to convene a session of the Security Council committee for the coordination of secret services.

Pčolinský remains in detention for now, the prosecutor has yet to decide whether to file for pre-trial custody. Zoroslav Kollár, whom the police believe to have bribed Pčolinský, denied the accusations through his lawyer and claims he does not know the SIS director.

Related articlePresident calls for Security Council committee session after secret service director's arrest Read more 

Rekola launches bike-sharing in Bratislava’s forests

Rekola, a company running one of the bike-sharing schemes in the capital, has launched a new project for forest bike-sharing. People can now use Rekola's pink bikes in the forests of the Small Carpathians around Bratislava. The initiative has been developed in response to the tightened anti-coronavirus measures and the recommendations that people should get out into the countryside, away from built-up areas.

Related articleRekola launches bike-sharing in Bratislava’s forests Read more 

Photo of the day

Feature story for today

Anyone who has stood on a hill outside Bratislava and looked down across the capital will have seen a city with a small old town centre dominated by a castle, modern high-rise tower blocks close by that same centre, and the rest of the city spreading out with housing estates dotted randomly in various districts and a massive oil refinery in one of its suburbs.

The view has prompted more than one observer to ask the question: Was there ever any plan behind this?

Now, a team of experts have pored over historical plans, maps, notes and archive newspapers and (sort of) come up with an answer. The result of their research is the book Bratislava (ne)plánované mesto/Bratislava the (un)planned city.

New book lays bare Bratislava’s (un)planned urban development Read more 


Slovakia will mark the anniversary of the launch of the Nazi-allied Slovak state on Sunday, March 14.

Wartime Slovak state still divides opinion Read more 

In other news:

  • Slovakia is not reporting any AstraZeneca vaccines from the batch probed after the occurrence of blood clots in recipients in Austria and Denmark. No such case has been so far reported in Slovakia after some thousands of people were given this vaccine.
  • Health care professionals from Denmark and Belgium arrived to Slovakia on Friday. Three doctors and five nurses from Denmark and two doctors and one nurse from Belgium will be helping out in the Banska Bystrica hospital. This will allow the hospital to gradually add four to eight more intensive care beds.
  • The average nominal monthly wage in Slovakia decreased y-o-y in January this year in most monitored sectors. The deepest decline was recorded in accommodation, where the average wage fell by 18.4 percent to €650. The sector of information and communication activities kept the highest nominal monthly wage of €1,992 when it remained unchanged compared with the previous year. (Statistics Office)
  • The platform #StáleMámeChuť which brings together 14 key business associations and initiatives and suppliers in the gastro sector in Slovakia, supports the effort the Transport Ministry to increase aid for gastronomy and tourism by €179 million. At the same time the platform calls on other ministries to become more interested in the critical situation in the gastro sector. The initiative has been proposed by the Transport Ministry to adjust the current assistance scheme to help the tourism and gastronomy sector according to the Austrian model. (SITA)
  • The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic significantly affected the number of deaths in Slovakia and rewrote the maximum monthly mortality figure in January 2021. In total, 8,650 people died in Slovakia in the first month of the year, which is 3,500 more people than the average for the last five years and significantly more than a year ago in January (by more than 3,600 persons). Compared to the average of the previous five years, (January 2016 to 2020) this is an increase of 68 percent. (the Slovak Statistics Office)
  • The Financial Administration has issued a warning about fraudsters who are trying to get personal data from people. They send a fraudulent email and offer a refund for filling in the attached form. The Financial Administration does not send such emails. It advises taxpayers neither to respond to the emails, nor to provide them with any data. (TASR)
  • So far 3,000 people have signed a petition against the construction of a big logistics centre in Holíč. The terminal with the capacity for one million containers per year is to be built close to the once imperial Holíč Castle, the baroque stud-farm Štít and the Church of Saint Margaret of Antioch, the only Great Moravian church in Slovakia and a UNESCO heritage site. (Denník N)
  • The Slovak arm of the German carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia marks its 30th anniversary today. Since inking the agreement between the then Czech-Slovak cabinet, the carmaker BAZ and Volkswagen, it has produced six million cars of six brands. (Denník N)

Do not miss on today:

Júlia Hanuliaková: From campaigner against animal captivity to zoo director Read more  Historically significant monastery saved from demolition Read more  Unique hydrogen technologies developed in Slovakia will be presented at EXPO in Dubai Read more  Man burnt alive, refugees let down: New film returns focus to migrant camps Read more 

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