News digest: Sweden is EU's top innovator, Slovakia the opposite

Slovakia fails to eliminate human trafficking, a US report says. Several clothing brands have left a Bratislava shopping mall.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, September 26 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.


Two female MPs clash in a night club

Police in Bratislava are dealing with allegations of assault after a violent fracas between two female MPs, Jana Bittó Cigániková of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and Romana Tabák from the Sme Rodina parliamentary caucus.

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The former has filed a lawsuit against the latter for physical assault in a night club in the capital.

The incident took place last Friday night.


More stories from The Slovak Spectator website

  • Auction: The Bratislava-based SOGA art auction company is holding an online auction this week to help children suffering severe illnesses.
  • Foreigners: The number of foreigners living and working in Slovakia has slightly increased over August.
  • Lookout towers: The EU supported the construction of three lookout towers, but only one remains standing today.
  • Russia: Slovakia will not issue humanitarian visas to citizens of Russia fleeing military mobilisation by the Putin regime.

FEATURE FOR MONDAY

Director Nvotová: Women can still be accused of witchcraft

Her movie, "Svetlonoc" (Nightsiren), won the Contemporary Cinema section at the festival in Locarno, Switzerland. In her film about witches, director Tereza Nvotová explores several sensitive themes: violence in the family, voluntary childlessness, and conspiracies.

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BUSINESS NEWS:

  • In November, pensioners should receive a fourteenth pension payment of €35-€210. This is a one-off allowance amounting to 70 percent of their thirteenth pension payment, which the social security provider Sociálna Poisťovňa paid out in July. Parliament has yet to approve the government's measure. Fourteenth pension payments will cost the state €207 million and should be paid to 1,435,000 pensioners. (SITA)
  • The nationalisation of electricity produced in Slovakia is a last-resort solution to the energy crisis, Economy Minister Karel Hirman told the Markíza television channel on Sunday, September 25. Parliament is yet to greenlight the government-approved energy legislation that would make it possible. Hirman rejects the European Commission's proposal to tax excess income from the sale of expensive electricity, because this income would be taxed outside Slovakia; it would also concern electricity produced in Slovakia but traded on foreign markets.
In August, the highest average rate of change in bread prices was recorded in Hungary, followed by Lithuania, Estonia and Slovakia (+32 percent). The price of bread in the EU was on average 18 percent higher than in August 2021. In August, the highest average rate of change in bread prices was recorded in Hungary, followed by Lithuania, Estonia and Slovakia (+32 percent). The price of bread in the EU was on average 18 percent higher than in August 2021.
  • Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka and Stradivarius decided to not prolong their contracts with the Central shopping mall in Bratislava, the Hospodárske Noviny daily reported. The daily also wrote that the CCC firm has closed down two of its stores in Bratislava – at Galéria Lamač and on Obchodná Street.
  • The European Commission has approved €5.2 billion for 35 projects in the hydrogen value chain across the EU, including one from Slovakia. A project by the RONA company aims to apply hydrogen in industry.
  • Water bills might also increase if the state fails to cap energy prices on time, Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár (Sme Rodina) warned last week after a meeting with the representatives of a water supplier in western Slovakia. (TASR)
Slovakia's innovation performance is one of the worst in the EU, according to the latest European Innovation Scoreboard analysis. Slovakia is described as emerging innovator alongside Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland and Romania.   Slovakia's innovation performance is one of the worst in the EU, according to the latest European Innovation Scoreboard analysis. Slovakia is described as emerging innovator alongside Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. (Source: European Commission)
  • In late August, coalition MP Milan Vetrák (OĽaNO) submitted to parliament a bill that would make private media such as TV Markíza and Rádio Expres, the most popular electronic media in Slovakia, to pay an extra tax. The Sme daily reports that the bill comes from Finance Minister and OĽaNO chair Igor Matovič himself. The minister has been in conflict with the media after he became PM in 2020; he resigned a year later. The bill is yet to be debated in parliament.

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.


IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Slovakia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so, claims the U.S. Department of State's 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report. Slovakia is, for example, criticised for judges issuing lenient sentencing and the government's decreased effort in investigating trafficking cases.
  • The SaS party will be invited to rejoin Eduard Heger's coalition government if Finance Minister Igor Matovič loses a no-confidence vote. The minister confirmed so to the RTVS public broadcaster on Sunday, September 25. SaS has said that it is prepared to discuss a new coalition agreement once Matovič is removed from the post.
  • If parliamentary elections took place in mid-September 2022, Peter Pellegrini's Hlas would win with 18.3 percent, followed by Robert Fico's Smer with 15.5 percent. Progressive Slovakia, led by MEP Michal Šimečka, would come in third with 11.6 percent, according to an IPSOS survey for the Denník N daily. Eight parties would win seats in parliament.
  • Presidents of the Visegrad Region countries will meet in Bratislava on October 11 to discuss the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, albeit Hungary's position in the matter is different from the rest. Slovakia holds the Visegrad Region presidency until July 2023.
  • One of the opposition leaders and former triple PM, Robert Fico (Smer), has described the prosecution of financier Jaroslav Haščák as a "typical political process without proof". In early September the state apologised to Haščák for unlawful charges of corruption and money laundering from 2020 and pre-trial custody, which lasted over a month. Haščák, whose name appears in the Gorilla corruption case, accepted the apology.

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

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