News digest: Hungarian PM complains about the EU, Czech elections resonate in Slovakia

Slovak politicians respond to Czech elections. Speaker of Parliament Kollár threatens to leave coalition again. Nitra-based Jaguar suspends production. More in today’s digest.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, October 11, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

Coalition congratulates the Czechs, opposition more critical

Several Slovak politicians have congratulated the Czech Republic for the high turnout in its parliamentary election, reaching 65.43 percent.

The election was won by the Spolu coalition (comprised of three parties - ODS, KDU-ČSL and TOP 09), followed by ANO of the current PM Andrej Babiš, the coalition Piráti/STAN (Mayors and Independents), and SPD led by Tomio Okamura.

On the other hand, several parties that used to be a firm part of the parliament for years have dropped out, namely the social-democratic ČSSD and the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM).

While President Zuzana Čaputová wished the Czech Republic “a successful and conflict-free process of forming a ruling coalition,” PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) expressed his wish for the country to have a government that will rule it well. He also stressed the close partnership between Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

While most coalition politician speaking to the media welcomed the election results, Sme Rodina chair and Speaker of Parliament, Boris Kollár, did not conceal his disappointment, claiming that “if I were a Czech, I would vote for Babiš.”

Opposition parties were meanwhile more critical of the results, mostly regretting the fact that the Social Democrats did not pass the threshold. Smer MP Richard Takáč even likened the potential ruling coalition to ours, warning of potential disputes.

Heger praised cooperation, Orbán discontent with the EU

Heger did not just praise mutual relations with Czechia. On Monday, he visited Esztergom in northern Hungary, where he met with his counterpart Viktor Orbán.

The two politicians marked the 20th anniversary of the reopening of Mária Valéria Bridge, which connects the Hungarian city with the town of Štúrovo in Slovakia.

On this occasion, Heger praised the relations between the two countries, and thanked for Hungarian aid during the Covid pandemic.

Orbán, on the other hand, complained about the approach of the EU towards central European countries which, in his words, are treated like second-class countries, not equal partners. He stressed that countries in central Europe can rely only on each other.

For a deeper insight into current affairs, check out our Last Week in Slovakia, published earlier today. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Coronavirus and vaccination developments

  • 402 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of the 425,971 PCR tests performed on October 10. The number of people in hospitals has increased to 788. Four more deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is at 44.91 percent, 2,469,782 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Altogether 16 districts in Slovakia are in the dark-red tier from today, while 43 districts are red and 20 are orange.
  • Several changes issued by the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) came into force today. This includes:
    • organisers of mass events can no longer combine different entry regimes for one event given the deteriorating pandemic situation;
    • special shopping hours for old people and the disabled are now cancelled;
    • employees of nursing homes who tested positive for Covid but have no symptoms can take care of patients if necessary and if there is no one else to take care of them.
  • The vaccination of children aged five to 11 years, who get an approval of the child's paediatrician, will take place in three centres: the National Institute of Children’s Diseases in Bratislava, the University Hospital in Martin, and the Children Faculty Hospital in Košice.

Travel info

Vaccinated incomers from Slovakia do not have to take a Covid test before travelling to the UK. They have to take the day 2 test that they need to book and pay for prior to the journey.

Find more information about entry conditions to selected countries here.

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Picture of the day

Slovakia will battle for its place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The qualifier match against Croatia in Osijek takes place on Monday evening. The national representation recently lost the match against Russia.

Feature story for today

Entering the test hall of the innovative technological company Asseco CEIT in Žilina, one is quickly overwhelmed with all the beeping and flashing of the yellow-black flat angled devices whirring around, closely watched by engineers in boiler suits. The robots are quick to warn any visitor who steps into their area: they stop at a secure distance and flash their lights, later intensifying their beeping to force the intruder out of their way.

In the hall, the company tests all the devices and solutions it develops and supplies to its clients, including those it is developing as prospective products, which will be in demand on the market in the future.

Mobile robots made in Slovakia take automation at automotive plants to the next level Read more 

In other news

  • The coalition council is set to meet on Monday to discuss the state budget for 2022 and changes to the debt brake.
  • The junior coalition party Sme Rodina will not support the planned reform of hospitals and the new map of courts in their current shape, not even if it means leaving the ruling coalition, said its chair and speaker of parliament, Boris Kollár. “If they want to fire us for this, I’ll go,” he added. Both Justice Minister Mária Kolíková (SaS caucus) and the Health Ministry responded that they will still discuss the proposals with the coalition partners. Both proposals are also among the reforms to be financed from the Next Generation EU fund.
  • Former judge Štefan Harabin will not face court for his public call on the participants of last year’s protest to not wear masks. The prosecutor dropped the charges, explaining that it was a misdemeanour, not a crime. (
  • The Defence Ministry submitted a criminal motion against MPs Marian Kotleba (ĽSNS) and Milan Mazurek (Republika) for spreading a false alarm. The two politicians are said to be spreading untrue and misleading information about the development and use of the MOVIR monitoring system.
  • Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS) said that Slovakia has enough natural gas for the upcoming season, with the main storage tank full at 74 percent. The amounts of gas sent to Slovakia by Gazprom are the same as contracted, he added.
  • Nitra-based carmaker Jaguar Land Rover will suspend production between October 11 and 15, due to a lack of components. People working in the affected departments will receive 80 percent of their average salary.
  • Non-governmental organisations Slovensko.Digital and Let’s Stop Corruption Foundation will turn to the Antimonopoly Office and the European Commission for the recently passed amendment to the law on public procurement. In their opinion, the amendment violates the principles of economic competition by introducing the so-called electronic platform, while some new rules make business with the state less transparent.
  • Industrial production increased by 0.8 percent year-on-year in August 2021, but growth has been slowing down for the fourth month in a row. In the transport equipment manufacturing segment, production dropped by about one third due to corporate holidays and the slow restarting of production affected by a scarcity of components. The construction output reported €502.3 million in the same month, up 4.2 percent y-o-y, according to the Statistics Office.

More on

Richest Slovaks increase in wealth despite the pandemic Read more 

Operator of red suburban buses will be replaced. Bratislava Region to have a new carrier Read more 

The united colours of Grandma's Summer: Ostrá Malenica Read more 

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