TODAY IN SLOVAKIA

News digest: Pfizer and Moderna jabs now available to a younger age group in Slovakia

Former health minister Krajčí commented on the Sputnik V contract. Carmakers still affected by the lack of components.

Illustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

This is the Thursday, May 6, 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.

Matovič announces tax reforms, but without many details

Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) summoned a press conference to introduce his tax and levy reform plans. He did not reveal many details, though.

It will be based on three pillars: fair taxes, a single tax and single levy and benefits of €200 per child. He denied some media reports which claim he plans to increase value-added tax (VAT) from the current 20 to 25 percent.

“Slovakia inevitably needs a decent reform of taxes and levies that will be family-oriented, will simplify the tax system and will ensure that all entities paying taxes have the feeling that it is fair,” said Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) on Wednesday, May 5, while promising to present the final draft of the tax and levy reforms soon, probably in a couple of weeks.

Matovič introduces tax reformRead more 

SIS intelligence agency has new director

Milan Aláč has become the new director of the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency, after being appointed by President Zuzana Čaputová on May 6. He was nominated by Sme Rodina.

He replaces Vladimír Pčolinský, who was detained in mid-March on corruption-related suspicions.

“It’s obvious that the most important task will be to nurture public belief in an agency that acts as an intelligence service of a democratic state and that observes the principles of the rule of law,” Čaputová said, adding that the SIS should inform the public of its findings, whenever possible.

Intelligence agency has a new director Read more 

Pfizer and Moderna for 50+

Given the higher supplies of the vaccines and the increase in vaccination capacity, the Health Ministry has allowed the administration of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people aged 50 and over who register via its online form.

At the same time, it has changed the form to enable the registration of people who accompany applicants older than 70 years. When registering the older person, there is now the opportunity to fill in the birth number of the attendant who should then register within 24 hours. Those who are already registered will receive an appointment automatically. The date and the place will be assigned based on the application of the older person and so will be the type of vaccine.

Up until now, attendants could be vaccinated without registration, but this will no longer be possible.

Registration form for Covid vaccine has new featuresRead more 

Other Covid and vaccination developments

  • 343 PCR tests out of 6,268 carried out on May 5 came back positive (5.47 percent), while of the 73,202 antigen tests, 295 were positive (0.40 percent). 34 people died of Covid, increasing the total number to 11,920.
  • The agreement on the Sputnik V vaccine is more advantageous than the contracts signed between the EU and pharmaceutical companies, commented former health minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) who signed it in the name of Slovakia. He also claimed there is the possibility for Slovakia to terminate the contract if Russia fails to deliver at least 50 percent of the contracted vaccines in a given month.
  • Pregnant women should be given preference for Covid-19 vaccination, according to the Slovak National Human Rights Centre, citing the potentially more serious course of the disease due to pregnancy as a reason. (TASR)

Picture of the day

Five 12-metre plane trees delivered from the Netherlands were planted on Trnavské Mýto in Bratislava on May 6. They are part of the revitalisation plan for the space near the market hall.

Feature story for today

With billions of euros coming its way from the special fund the European Union set up for post-pandemic recovery, Slovakia could become a more resilient and innovative country with a greener economy and better education and health care systems. Just how much of this appealing vision it can turn into reality will be down to the state's ability to draw money from the fund.

Our colleague Jana Liptáková looked at the final version of the plan and what observers think of it.

Slovakia sent its 600-page plan to Brussels on becoming a better country Read more 

In other news

  • The number of deaths in March increased by 48 percent compared to the five-year average. Still, the excess mortality was lower than in the previous two months, the Statistics Office reported.
  • The state hospitals have generated debt of nearly €700 million. The Health Ministry plans another phase of debt elimination in 2021-2022, while the state should tell the health insurers how much they should pay for hospital or outpatient care.
  • Opposition MPs have initiated a special session for Monday, May 10 to remove Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) from the post of justice minister, giving the suspicions concerning the business of her family company as reason. The representatives of the coalition party Sme Rodina have admitted supporting the removal if Kolíková fails to explain the claims.
  • Trnava-based carmaker Stellantis Slovakia has restored production after it had to halt it on May 6 morning due to a lack of components. Bratislava-based Volkswagen meanwhile decided to prolong the suspension of its production of SUV models for another week. The remaining two carmakers are not reporting any problems for now.
  • People handed in altogether 1,615 illegally possessed weapons and 53,025 pieces of ammunition to the police during the gun amnesty, lasting from November 2020 to late April 2021.

More on Spectator.sk today

Real estate prices continued to climb at the beginning of the year, especially in Bratislava Read more 

Zoom University: The pandemic stripped studying abroad of much of its allure and benefits Read more 

A pilgrimage destination for many Jews from around the world Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.