News digest: Help to fight rising prices announced

Government to spend hundreds of millions as inflation bites. Two thirds of Slovaks view Russia as a danger.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. This is the Thursday, April 21 edition of Today in Slovakia - the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

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PM announces help for people fighting rising prices

The government has announced plans to spend €260 million this year on helping people amid rising prices.

This will rise to more than one billion euros in the next year, PM Eduard Heger said on Thursday.

The amount is higher than was initially forecast.

Increased government spending should be largely covered by a tax increase for 100 of the wealthiest companies in the country.

People will not have to apply for the allowances, they will be paid out automatically. They include a rise in the child allowance from the current €25,88 to €30 starting this August, and again to€40 next year. A one-off allowance of €100 will also be paid out.


Two thirds of Slovaks consider Russia a danger

Two thirds of Slovaks consider Russia to be a danger, according to a new poll.

In the latest 'How Are You, Slovakia?' survey 38.9 percent of respondents said that in relation to the conflict in Ukraine, and Slovakia's geopolitical orientation, Slovakia should “always” or “rather” support the West, i.e the EU and NATO.

Meanwhile, 45.7 percent of respondents said Slovakia should attempt to take a balanced position between Russia and the West, and 8.5 percent said that Slovakia should “always” or “rather” support Russia.

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Geopolitical orientation towards Russia is preferred by respondents who tend to get information about politics from their acquaintances rather than media, and also respondents who agree with the statement that the world is being run by powerful secret groups with ulterior motives.

When asked which countries could pose a danger to Slovakia, more than 50 percent of respondents said Russia. However, the US was considered the second most dangerous country.


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Refugees from Ukraine

  • 1,982 women, 767 men and 707 children crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border on April 20. The overall number of refugees who have come to Slovakia since the war started is 352,249 and 69,639 have asked for temporary protection.
  • A new Ukrainian news website novyny.sme.sk has been launched.
  • More than 4,400 refugees have already found jobs in Slovakia, most of whom are women. Among the positions they have taken are assembly line workers and machine operators.

Picture of the day

Every third Friday an antiques and rarities exchange is held on Hlavná ulica street in Prešov. Among other things, visitors can find various trinkets, furniture, artworks, vinyl records, porcelain, and toys. Because of Easter, the most recent exchange was held this Thursday.


Feature story for today

It was no coincidence that Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger accompanied Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on her journey to Kyiv on April 8.

Heger’s advisor Alexander Duleba says that the joint visit was the result of a concrete plan that Heger presented to European leaders at Versailles in March, one which could help Ukraine to become a member of the European Union (EU) relatively quickly.

There are several such proposals on the European table. But the Slovak one provides a worked-out plan with specific ideas that not only helps Ukraine during and after the current war, but also describes a path to EU membership within five years.

Ukraine joining the EU would benefit eastern Slovakia, says PM’s advisor Read more 

In other news

  • Starting Thursday, respirators are no longer required inside buildings, public transport, theatres, and shops. However, they remain mandatory in some circumstances.
  • National Criminal Agency investigators want Smer chair and MP Robert Fico and former interior minister Robert Kaliňák to be prosecuted while in custody. General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka has been asked to agree with Fico's detainment.
  • Last year, Slovakia's deficit exceeded 6 percent of GDP. Public administration debt reached 61 billion euros, above 63 percent of GDP.
  • Inflation in the EU rose to a record-high 7.8 percent in March from 6.2 percent in February. Prices were higher mostly due to rising energy costs.
  • Smer MPs filed another proposal to remove Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO). A parliamentary session to deal with the proposal should take place on April 26.
  • Slovakia will re-establish its embassy in Kyiv once the situation is safe again. A Slovak diplomatic team will arrive in the city on Thursday evening to assess the situation.
  • 2,415 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 8,416 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospitals is 1,108. 13 more deaths were reported on April 20. The vaccination rate stands at 51.29 percent. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.

More on Spectator.sk:

Slovak fairy tale gets Ukrainian dubbing for cinemas Read more  Restrictions lifted for cultural events Read more  Bear to be put down after hiker attacks in Low Tatras 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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