News digest: Slovak immigration authorities have improved a lot since 2006

Rules for collusive custody change following compromise. Junior coalition party on the verge of a breakup.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. This is the Thursday, May 27, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about the day's news in less than 5 minutes.

Collusive custody problem solved, but Za Ľudí has some more to deal with

The amendment to the law on pretrial custody will change after a week-long quarrel between Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (Za Ľudí) and Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina). The cabinet has okayed the proposal authored by Kolíková.

Kollár's made no secret of his motivation to change the rules in order to help former SIS director Vladimír Pčolinský get released from collusive custody. Kolíková had objections to the amendment as proposed by Sme Rodina through its MP Petra Hajšelová.

“Of course, I’m not entirely happy that not all my proposals were accepted," Kollár said, as quoted by TASR.

The problem with custody rules is resolved for now, but Kolíková faces another quarrel, this time within her party Za Ľudí.

Several members are not satisfied with Chairwoman Veronika Remišová and would like to see her replaced, most likely by Mária Kolíková. Some MPs call for delegates to assemble for an unscheduled congress and elect a new chair.

Pundits, however, doubt that an exchange in the top post would suffice to save the party that constantly polls under the 5-percent threshold for entering parliament.

Migration went from a marginal issue to a hot topic

When the Slovak branch of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) opened its Migration Information Centre in Slovakia in 2006, the country was home to some 32,000 foreigners. The word migrant practically did not exist in the vocabulary of common people nor politicians, and it was hard to gauge the attitudes the citizens of Slovakia had towards migrants back then.

This all changed in 2015. In that year, hundreds of thousands of people fled to Europe to escape war and persecution, an event that has become known as the refugee crisis.

“There is a saying that everyone is an expert on hockey in Slovakia,” Zuzana Vatráľová, the head of IOM, told The Slovak Spectator. “I have been saying since 2015 that everyone is also an expert on migration here.”

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Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 111,000 people are signed up in the virtual waiting room for the first jab. With the pace of vaccination, the waiting room could be empty soon. There are also huge differences between districts – the data showed nobody is waiting for a jab in the Gelnica district while more than 6,000 people are waiting in the districts of Žilina, Nitra and Dunajská Streda.
  • People who have been vaccinated against Covid would welcome milder restrictions than those who refuse to get inoculated. As many as 46.3 percent of respondents agreed with milder measures for vaccinated people. The idea was opposed by 35.4 percent of respondents.
  • Summer camps for children will be allowed in July and August. Participants will be required to show a negative PCR or LAMP test no older than 72 hours before the camp starts. It will not be required to take another test during the camp.

Picture of the day

Public Defender of Rights Mária Patakyová received the German-French 2020 award for her commitment to human rights and the rule of law. It was presented to her by German Ambassador Barbara Wolf and French Ambassador Christophe Léonzi.

Feature story for today

Big surprise. This is how employees of the Slovak National Theatre (SND) describe every performance that they have performed in recent years at the very old theatre building in the centre of Bratislava.

The last time the historical building hosted a performance was last autumn. And although theatres opened at the beginning of May following the relaxation of Covid measures – albeit for a limited number of spectators – the old SND building remains closed.

Neglected for decades, the ramshackle national theatre shuts its doors Read more 

In other news

  • A young man attacked a woman on Thursday morning in Bratislava's Old Town on Svetlá Street. The woman suffered several stab wounds during the attack, and the attacker was detained by police on the spot. Police officers provided the woman with initial treatment and assistance until an ambulance arrived on the scene.
  • Jana Štilichová was named the new director of the Slovak Land Fund. She replaced Gabriela Bartošová in the position. Bartošová was charged with corruption and is currently in pretrial custody, which is why Agriculture Minister Ján Mičovský resigned.
  • The cities of Bratislava, Košice, Prešov and Žilina will have a chance to take out a joint loan from the state with a zero-percent interest rate for €42 million, the Finance Ministry approved. Bratislava has previously criticised the loans.
  • In April, industrial producer prices in Slovakia grew by 2.3 percent year on year, which is the highest increase since June 2019. Agricultural products also rose in price for more than a year and a half - by 4 percent. The prices of construction materials rose even more significantly.
  • The Slovak Environmental Inspectorate rejected the appeal of dairy Koliba in Hriňová. It fully confirmed the imposed fine of €135,000 for water pollution. This decision is final and valid.
  • Trnava-based carmaker Stellantis Slovakia will resume production on Saturday, May 29 at 6:00 thanks to the arrival of necessary components. Production has been suspended since May 17.
  • In Rudno nad Hronom, disposal work was completed following a flash flood in the village on May 17 after the water reservoir built above the village burst. The damage was estimated at approximately €900,000.

Do not miss on today

Pandemic forced people to leave tourism. Some do not plan on returning Read more  The multifunctional space that became the Presidential Palace Read more  Flights between Poprad and Bratislava should be offered this autumn Read more  The Covid-19 pandemic reduced emissions by 6.4 percent Read more 

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