News digest: Friday brings higher deficit but easier cross-border travel

Most neighbours will recognise Slovak vaccination certificates. Investment minister unveils the green pass app. Amended 2021 state budget passed, deficit higher. Bratislava Castle will burn tonight.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good afternoon. This is the Friday, May 28, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about the day's news in less than 5 minutes.

Check out the Spectacular Slovakia roundup for weekend reading tips

British media impressed by Slovak Roma artists Read more 

Slovak vax certificates recognised by most neighbours

The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria will recognise Slovak vaccination certificates. Austria will only accept certificates on vaccines registered by the EMA and WHO. Slovak inhabitants with the proper certificate will not have to present a negative test result or documents confirming that they recovered from Covid-19, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

“I’m glad that we’ve had initial results; following my talks with my Hungarian counterpart Péter Szíjártó, our southern neighbours will recognise Slovak vaccination certificates, and the same holds true in the case of the Czech Republic and Austria,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok (SaS) without specifying from when this will apply.

Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria will recognise Slovak vaccination certificates Read more 

More coronavirus and vaccination news

  • Investment Minister Veronika Remišová (Za Ľudí) unveiled a GreenPass application on Friday, May 28, aimed at facilitating travel within the EU for EU citizens. Users will be able to scan QR codes confirming that they have been vaccinated, tested or have overcome Covid-19. State institutions, in particular the police, will check the codes with an app called OverPass. The app is expected to be launched as of June 26, and it will be a coordinated pan-European solution.
  • The Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) published a regulation specifying the regime on the borders. The traffic light system for travellers arriving in the country during the 2021 summer season becomes effective on May 31 at 6:00.
  • Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice is developing a new type of electronic sensor to detect Covid-19. The testing should be fast, cheap and simple.
  • More than 14 months after the introduction of the first quarantine measures in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, 47.6 percent of people estimate that life in Slovakia will return to normal within two years and will be as it was before the coronavirus crisis, while 25.8 percent of respondents do not believe life in Slovakia will ever be the same as it was before the pandemic, according to research conducted by the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV), MNFORCE and Seesame.

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MPs hike deficit due to pandemic

Parliament approved on Friday, May 28, an amendment to the 2021 state budget, increasing budgetary expenditures by more than €3.7 billion. This is almost €351 million more than the government originally proposed. MPs of the ruling coalition parties OĽaNO, Sme Rodina and Za Ľudí voted for the amendment. MPs of the junior coalition party SaS abstained and the opposition parties of Smer and ĽSNS and non-partisan deputies voted against it, the TASR newswire reported.

Along with expenditures, the general government deficit will increase too, up from 9.9 percent to more than 10 percent of the GDP. The reserve to cover any adverse effects of the pandemic was increased to €2.7 billion.

SaS has criticised the proposed increase as too high.

Marian Viskupič (SaS), head of the parliamentary committee, pointed out during the parliamentary debate before the final vote that state budget expenditures are likely to swell to almost €28 billion, which is the sum that Slovakia collects in taxes over the course of two years.

“Today’s deficits are tomorrow’s taxes,” he said, as cited by the SITA newswire.

Related articleThe government will spend more than originally plannedRead more 

Potable water in just three springs in the capital

Only three springs in forests administered by the municipal forest company Mestské Lesy v Bratislave (MLB) around Bratislava have potable water. MLB checks water in 16 springs once a year in cooperation with the water utility company BVS. It analyses 24 different parametres.

“If even one of the indicators does not meet the standard, the water is marked as non-potable,” said MLB, as cited by the SITA newswire. “The water in many wells is unsatisfactory solely because of its pH levels, which has no direct effect on health with occasional use.”

Feature story for today

One week ago, on May 21, people gathered to say goodbye to the Design Factory which until recently had been a hub for architects, designers, and other creative people, as well as a space for cultural and other events.

The building’s owners, ZSE, are planning to develop the land it stands on, and the company’s plans to build new headquarters on the site have raised concerns among the cultural and architectural community over the fate of the building.

ZSE has neither confirmed nor denied plans for its demolition.

Related articleFears grow over fate of iconic Design Factory building Read more 

Picture of the day

A video projection on the walls of Bratislava Castle will mark the 210th anniversary of a fire that turned the city's landmark into a ruin. It remained that way for almost 150 years. The video projection will take place from 20:00 until 24:00 on Friday, May 28.

Do not miss today

Neglected for decades, the ramshackle national theatre shuts its doors Read more  As they age, Americans’ desire to reconnect with Slovakia grows Read more  Students today, citizens and leaders tomorrow Read more 

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