News digest: Crisis continues as SaS withdraws from coalition until PM resigns

Slovakia’s economy should grow by 3.3 percent in 2021. Slovakia commemorates the departure of the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz.

SaS ministers leaving presidential palace after resignation. (Source: SITA)

This is the Thursday, March 25, 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.

SaS out of the coalition, OĽaNO favours three party rule

After foreign affairs minister Ivan Korčok and education minister Branislav Gröhling handed their resignations to President Zuzana Čaputová, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) announced its withdrawal from the coalition until PM Igor Matovič resigns.

Chair Richard Sulík said his party will only return to the negotiating table when a new person takes the lead in the coalition talks - the person whom President Zuzana Čaputová appoints to put together the new cabinet after Matovič resigns.

"Crisis equals Igor Matovič," Sulík stated.

Matovič's Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) party said in a statement that Sulík has decided to bring down another government. It further stated that Sulík was putting his own ministerial chair before the future of the country, which the movement called regrettable.

“Now, the responsibility is on us, the remaining coalition parties, to prevent attempts to break the government, to thwart this attack, to find an agreement and take the country out of this political crisis,” the statement reads.

The Sme daily reported that OĽaNO is considering a coalition of three parties - without the SaS, but this was ruled out by another junior coalition party Za Ľudí, represented by chair Veronika Remišová.

If the coalition crisis is not solved by Monday, March 29, Za Ľudí will also leave the coalition, Remišová added.

"If the situation is not solved, there is no point in staying in a crumbling and non-functioning government,“ she told the media.

Economists predict 3.3 percent growth of GDP

Slovakia’s economy should grow by 3.3 percent in 2021. In its recent macroeconomic prognosis, the IFP predicts that the second pandemic wave will bring lower losses, while the export and labour market will remain stable. New jobs should be created in the second half of the year.

After the pandemic is over, the economy may rise by 6.3 percent in 2022, also thanks to money from the EU recovery fund. A year later, the economy may benefit from EU funds, the IFP forecasts.

“The drop was caused by lower household consumption,” the IFP commented, as quoted by TASR. “Net export will be a driving force and household consumption will be under pressure. A supporting factor for domestic demand is also higher state support.”

On this day in history

Today Slovakia commemorates the departure of the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz. There were 1,000 young women and girls on the train. After the war, only about 20 of them returned.

From our archiveWe were joking before the trip, women from the first transport to Auschwitz recall Read more 

Feature story for today

In order to build a monument to a Nazi collaborator, you have to transform them into something other than a collaborator: a freedom fighter or a victim. “That’s very easy to do in eastern Europe,” Lev Golinkin, an American writer, says.

Slovakia can do better than Tiso Read more 

Other news

  • The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) is searching for Peter Košč who was close to the secret service. His brother was the head of a personnel department in the Slovak Intelligence Service. He owns real estate in the Seychelles. He reportedly bribed former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik who faces new allegations that he accepted a bribe of €50,000. (
  • The Supreme Court turned down a complaint filed by Alena Zsuzsová against the prolongation of her custody. It upheld the previous decision of the pre-trial judge of the Specialized Criminal Court, ruling that Zsuzsová should remain in custody until November 3.
  • The average amount owed by Slovak debtors slightly decreased last year. While in 2019, it was €2,700 on average, last year it was €2,500. (analysis by Kruk Czech and Slovak Republic)
  • The switch to daylight savings time will impact one pair of trains run by the Slovak national transporter ZSSK. Night trains from Bratislava to Humenné and back will be delayed by 60 minutes. International trains are suspended due to the pandemic.
  • The EU Court of Justice turned down the complaint made by Slovak Telekom and its mother company Deutsche Telekom against a fine for misusing their dominant position on the market. The European Commission fined them more than €38 million in 2014. Spokesperson Michal Korec confirmed that the fine had been paid.

Do not miss on today

Banská Bystrica will be launching a plan for sustainable mobility Read more  The walls protecting the city are now a piece of history Read more  Hall of mirrors Read more  Korčok: Slovakia is on thin ice in foreign policy as well Read more 

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