News digest: "People in Slovakia are literally angry"

Finance Minister Igor Matovič not right about last week's prediction about the collapse of the coalition (for now). A legendary Bratislava canteen may disappear.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Wednesday, May 11 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

For the coalition, it is crisis time again

The ruling coalition is once again on the edge of collapse, just a year after a major government crisis erupted following the purchase of a Russian Covid-19 vaccine, and growing tensions between OĽaNO leader Igor Matovič and SaS leader Richard Sulík.

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The crisis arose on May 4 after the parliament, with the blessing of then two OĽaNO MPs and MPs from the coalition party of Sme Rodina, dismissed via voting a prosecutor’s request for the arrest of Smer MP and former triple prime minister Robert Fico, against whom several criminal charges had been pressed.

But the finance minister’s announced package of economic and social measures to help people cope with rising prices, disfavoured by SaS to a large degree and supported by Sme Rodina, has aggravated the coalition crisis in recent days.

Asked about the coalition’s possible end, political analyst Grigorij Mesežnikov of the non-governmental Institute for Public Affairs told The Slovak Spectator, “the probability is not zero.”

Update: Minister Matovič will give the SaS party one more week to change its mind and support the coalition’s package of measures that is supposed to help families affected by surging prices, the minister announced. He plans to obtain money for the package from higher taxes for firms that have a competitive advantage and profits over €3 million.

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Quote: “We do not want to be just three coalition parties (OĽaNO, Sme Rodina, Za Ľudí) that want to help families at the end of the day and one coalition party (SaS) that wants to fight for oligarchs, rich people and rich companies,” Minister Matovič said on May 11.

One-off allowance: Allowances for foster parents, people in material need, allowances for carers and for personal assistants should be hiked by €100 for May.

If Fico returns, just leave the country

Thirty years have passed and the state still treats a politician suspect differently than an ordinary citizen, opines former journalist TOM NICHOLSON. He visited Slovakia again recently and in an interview he mentioned the negativity he felt from Slovaks.

In recent months, the increasingly coarse language of politicians has been a topic. Do you think the times of Ján Slota have returned?

On the contrary, I think it never disappeared from Slovak society. I realised this when I returned to Slovakia this time. I was walking down the streets and I saw abrasiveness everywhere. It is something that Slovaks living abroad also tell me about. They do not want to return to Slovakia because of how negative people here are.

Wasn't it worse in the past?

I can't say that, this is what I feel now. You have created a society that is difficult to live in. There is little patience, helpfulness, and people are literally angry.

Is it different in Canada?

Of course, Canada has its problems. People there are cold, formal, and do not build deep relationships with each other. However, the difference is that in Slovakia you walk down a street and see a hundred angry disgusted people staring at you and you don't know what to expect. Moreover, many have told me that they want to leave. Nobody has said Slovakia is nice and that they are looking forward to living in it.


Summer is approaching

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  • Weather forecast for Thursday: partly cloudy, occasional showers or storms expected in northern and eastern Slovakia, 24°C-31°C.
  • Poland could start guarding Slovakia’s airspace as of summer or early autumn, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽANO) said.
  • The Russian gas and oil supply situation is stable, Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS) said.
  • 2,437 Ukrainian refugees arrived in Slovakia via the Slovak-Ukrainian border on May 10, and 232 applied for temporary protection.
  • The Pipi Dlhá Pančucha (Pippi Longstocking) Scholarship Fund will award scholarships to Ukrainian secondary school and university students who fled to Slovakia from war-torn Ukraine.
  • The government approved the country’s cyber defence strategy put together by the Defence Ministry. The document reads that Slovakia might face a cyber attack that has the potential to cause damage comparable to the consequences of armed attacks.
  • Slovakia registered 443 new Covid-19 cases on May 10. Eight people died of the coronavirus on that day.
  • Most gorges in Slovak Paradise National Park are closed due to elevated water levels. Tourists will only have access to the Prielom Hornádu, Kláštorská and Zejmarská gorges, but they should reconsider their trips even to these areas.


Will flats replace a popular Bratislava cafeteria?

Only a few restaurant businesses in Bratislava can be considered immortal. Jedáleň u Orbána (Orbán’s Canteen) is one of them.

Differences blur at this particular place. Not everyone will be interested in dropping in but still, a blue-collar worker and a top manager can be found sitting next to each other having lunch.

Jedáleň u Orbána does not pretend to be something it is not. In a way, it offers a trip back to the times of communism. People eating at the small restaurant accept its “old-fashionedness” and praise its authenticity, which is completed by the staff who look at customers reproachfully when they do not take soup with the main meal.

Nevertheless, the future of this classic “táckareň” (a food facility in which the customer carries a meal on a plastic tray to their table) is uncertain. A new real estate project, which involves the construction of flats, could take the place of the small restaurant on Malý Trh Street.

More on

OPINION The world if Zelensky had taken the ride, not ammunition Read more  CULTURE Hundreds of museums and galleries across Slovakia open their doors this weekend Read more  NEWS Hundreds of study programmes cease to exist. Universities lack students and professors Read more 

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