News digest: Some MPs need protection after voting for the US defence deal

New Covid rules to come into force. Boosters for teenagers launched. Date for new Kuciak murder trial set.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, February 14, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

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MPs face attacks after supporting the US defence deal

Opposition parties Smer and far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), plus the members of far-right Republika and their supporters have launched a massive campaign against 79 MPs who voted for the Defence Cooperation Agreement in parliament on February 9.

Ľuboš Blaha of Smer, Milan Mazurek of Republika, and Tomáš Taraba, who left the ĽSNS caucus, have shared information about the appearances and names of MPs along with the village or town they live in. They claim that these MPs are traitors of the nation.

At the same time, people in anonymous groups on social networks have shared the MPs’ addresses. One of the groups has an image of a gallows as a profile picture.

The opposition denies that any violence in this regard could be the result of such goading.

“Why should I feel co-responsible? If there is a crime against a person, I will denounce it,” Blaha said.

He explained that he wants to bring visibility to the MPs of the coalition who remain unknown for a large group of people. He added that OĽaNO also organised protests in front of Bonaparte where Smer’s chair Robert Fico used to live.

Police evaluated violence as a possible threat, and several people were even assigned police protection. They are also patrolling the houses of MPs and searching through video footage for people who left the messages at their gates, the Sme daily reported.

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


Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 8,552 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 15,645 PCR tests performed on February 13. The number of people in hospitals is 2,165, and 10 more deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is at 51.16 percent, 2,814,075 people having received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Several changes to anti-pandemic measures will come into force tomorrow. This includes the basic entry regime for all shops, meaning that anyone can enter regardless of their vaccination or recovery status; the services are still divided into essential and non-essential ones. There are also changes to the OP+ regime definition.
  • The administration of boosters to children aged 12-17 years was launched on Monday. The child will be entitled for the shot three months after administering the last one; the application needs to be signed by their legal representative onsite. Registration is not required, but is recommended.
  • It will be possible to register for the Novavax coronavirus vaccine via the Korona.gov.sk website from February 15, the Health Ministry confirmed. Slovakia has contracted 600,000 doses.
  • Slovakia delivered humanitarian aid in the form of 30,000 antigen tests worth more than €125,000 to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday.

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Picture of the day

The protest of hauliers has been blocking traffic on Rožňavská Street in Bratislava, the police have warned, asking drivers to be careful and patient. The hauliers are asking for an immediate temporary reduction of the excise tax on fuel by 30 percent for six months; the reduction of the road tax by 30 percent; the excise tax refund from fuel at €38 if more than 1,000 litres are tanked; and the immediate reduction of the toll by 30 percent for six months. The hauliers plan to block the traffic for four to five days and if their demands are not met, they plan to block border crossings.


Feature story for today

Being a sustainable city means more than just having a positive approach to the environment – it needs to be economically sustainable, too. Its growth must be “appropriate” and needs to be attractive to both its residents and visitors. In this respect, Bratislava has a lot of room for improvement according to those in charge of guiding its path to greater sustainability.

The Slovak Spectator spoke with Ján Mazúr, director of the Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava (MIB), the municipal organisation creating the concept behind the city’s development, about what characteristics pre-dispose Bratislava to sustainability, its ideal transport, how data can improve the quality of life in the city, and what kind of tourists it should seek to attract.​

Partyslava is obsolete, Bratislava needs a fresh touristic model Read more 


In other news

  • The Specialised Criminal Court merged the case on the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová with the case on the preparation of the murders of then prosecutors Maroš Žilinka (now general prosecutor), Daniel Lipšic (now special prosecutor) and Peter Šufliarsky. The main trial with Marian Kočner and other defendants will start on February 28, and proceedings are also set to take place on March 28-30.
  • The Spartan military plane flew to Kyiv to lift employees of the Slovak Embassy in Ukraine and their family members, said Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO). The Foreign Affairs Ministry announced the evacuation of the families of Slovak diplomats in Kyiv on Saturday.
  • The most trusted cabinet minister is Environment Minister Ján Budaj (OĽaNO), followed by PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) and Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO). On the contrary, Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) enjoys the lowest trust among the cabinet members, as stems from a recent poll carried out by the Focus agency for the private broadcaster TV Markíza.
  • Opposition MPs from Smer, Hlas and several non-affiliated deputies submitted a proposal to oust Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO). The reason, according to Smer, is that Mikulec stood at the helm of an organised group of charged investigators of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), whose aim allegedly was to put the opposition into prison.
  • The inflation rate in Slovakia increased by 8.4 percent year-on-year in January, with the annual increase in consumer prices being the highest since July 2004. Compared to December 2021, consumer prices went up by 2.7 percent, according to the Statistics Office. The sharp rise in consumer prices was mainly due to the increase in regulated prices in the network industries, food and non-alcoholic beverages, imputed rent for housing, alcoholic beverages, transport services, outpatient services and insurance.
  • The reconstruction of the Prievoz/Nivy level crossing in Bratislava has been completed after three years. The last section from the R7 express dual-carriageway and Slovnaftská Street to Prístavná Street was put into operation during the weekend.
  • To protest against the draft Construction Act, the light on selected monuments across Slovakia will be turned off and black flags will be raised. Preservationists and activists want to protest against a proposed change that would turn the monuments board to construction offices.
  • On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, the Slovak Academy of Sciences published the stories of married couples working for the institution. They looked at how their marriage is working, how it all started and whether they discuss work during breakfast or Sunday lunch.

More on Spectator.sk:

A turning point in the refurbishment of the dilapidated main station in Bratislava Read more 

The trust of Slovaks in EU membership the lowest in the club Read more 

Government wants to solve high energy prices with a new tax. Not everybody is happy Read more 


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

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