News digest: Slovakia improved in the corruption perceptions ranking

Slovakia's Security Council met over development in Ukraine. Matúš Vallo will run for re-election as Bratislava mayor.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Tuesday, January 25 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.

Security Council meets over Ukraine development

Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok and Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď described the security situation in Europe as extremely serious.

They stated the above after a meeting of the Security Council, which will continue at the Wednesday meeting as well.

Naď said that there are about 130,000 members of the Russian Armed Forces gathering at Ukrainian borders along with military technology. He added that the military technology “is not only of a defence character” and some could intervene with Slovakia’s territory due to its range.

Slovakia has elaborated defence plans, according to the minister, because consequences for Slovakia might be significant, even if there is no direct military threat to the country. Naď referred to a possible migration wave of tens of thousands of people crossing the Slovak-Ukrainian border in order to reach Slovakia.

Security is being discussed also due to the Defence Cooperation Agreement with the US and most recently because of Economy Minister Richard Sulík's comments on Russian sanctions.

Sulík's advisor and former finance minister Ivan Mikloš quit his position due to Sulík's statements.

In his opinion piece, Mikloš also wrote about the situation in Ukraine and the recent debate about the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Slovakia and the USA.

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“If I had doubts about us Slovaks, and people in Slovakia deserving freedom, independence and statehood in the past years, this feeling has intensified more in the last couple of days,” he wrote. “The nationwide passionate debate about military cooperation with the USA was so absurd that I just can’t believe it was real.”

Slovakia moved up in corruption perception ranking

Slovakia improved its position in the Corruption Perceptions Index and jumped by four positions to 56th place in the ranking of 2021.

Slovakia also recorded a positive shift in the achieved score, which increased year-on-year from 49 to 52 points out of a hundred possible.

“The current improvement can already be attributed to the work of the current government and institutions,” noted Transparency International Slovakia.

Despite the fact that Slovakia’s improved its position, the country still significantly lags behind the EU average, where the score is 64 points. Out of 27 EU countries, only several countries scored worse than Slovakia, including Greece (58th position), Croatia (63rd position), Romania (66th position), Hungary (73rd position) and Bulgaria (78th position).

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 8,120 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 23,507 PCR tests performed on Monday. The number of people in hospitals is 1,499 people. 23 more deaths were reported on Monday. The vaccination rate is at 50.73 percent, 2,790,172 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Subvariant of Omicron BA.2 was identified also in Slovakia. Virologist Boris Klempa of the Slovak Academy of the Sciences does not expect a similar situation like in Denmark, where the number of the infected was decreasing, then stagnated and now is steeply growing again. “It does not matter for us whether BA.1 or BA.2 will prevail because we are only at the beginning of the Omicron wave,” he explained for the Sme daily. The numbers of the infected will grow regardless of what version of Omicron will become dominant.
  • The European Union (EU) Digital COVID Certificate will be valid for nine months. The European Commission has established a binding acceptance period of nine months for the certificate from February 1. As the Health Ministry states, this restriction will apply not only for travel, but also in Slovakia. "The Public Health Office is also incorporating the change into its decrees. The validity of nine months is already stated in the new decree on the home isolation of positive persons and close contacts," the ministry added.

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Photo of the day

Slovak skier Petra Vlhová ended second in the women's World Cup giant slalom, in Kronplatz, Italy.

Feature story for today

The halls and classrooms of Slovak universities are now emptier than they were ten years ago. The coronavirus is not the one to blame in this case.

Universities are losing students and the data they provided for the Largest in Business ranking of The Slovak Spectator suggest that today, tens of thousands fewer students are studying at Slovak universities compared to a decade ago.

Slovak universities are losing students Read more 

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In other news

  • Bratislava Mayor Matúš Vallo will run for re-election in this year’s municipal election that will take place in autumn. His Team Vallo is changing to the municipal party of Team Bratislava. Nobody else has announced their running for the position of mayor in Bratislava.
  • The number of foreigners working in Slovakia decreased by the end of the last year. 68,200 foreigners were working in Slovakia in December 2021, 395 people fewer than in November. It is also a y-o-y decrease by 824 people.
  • The Greenway company built 33 charging stations for e-cars in Slovakia, numbering 124. The other 117 were built in Poland. The company plans to launch about 150 stations in both countries this year. (tasr)
  • As in the previous year, patients who failed to undergo a preventive dental check-up last year are entitled to the full reimbursement of basic treatment of dental cavities by public health insurance in 2022, the Health Ministry states in a press release.
  • As part of the investigation into Milan Lučanský's death there is ongoing reconstruction of the case in the Prešov prison. The reconstruction is being carried out by an investigator from the Office of the Inspection Service in the presence of the supervising prosecutor, experts and proxies of the victims. General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka says that he is convinced that the authorities will soon provide answers as to how and why the death occurred.
  • The national carrier ZSSK announced a recruitment campaign for engine drivers. The recruitment allowance will increase from €1,200 to €3,000. Whoever comes to work as a ZSSK train driver from a distance of more than 150 kilometres will receive an allowance of €400.
  • After the collapse of the largest alternative energy supplier, Slovakia Energy, Twinlogy announced its end as well. The company announced that it has lost its ability to supply gas and admitted that it would find itself in a similar situation in the case of electricity. (Aktuality)

Do not miss on today

Slovak, Catholic, and aging. But some of the 2021 census is a surprise (+graphs) Read more  Smer chair Fico attacks journalists again, calling them an organised crime group Read more  On a loop trail outside Brehy, hikers become miners Read more  Chip crisis still affecting Slovak carmakers Read more 

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