News Summary: NATO Troops Will Bring In Billion-Worth Tech, But Society Remains Divided


Slovakia marks two years of pandemic. The country has three gold medals at the Paralympic Games.

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Good evening. Welcome to the Monday, March 7, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

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Slovaks still divided over the arrival of NATO troops

The Slovak public is divided over the presence of NATO troops in Slovakia.

While 50% of people recently polled by polling agency Focus said they agreed with NATO’s presence in the country, 45% said they were against it. The remaining 5% declined to give an opinion.

The poll was conducted for private broadcaster TV Markíza between February 22 and March 1 on a representative sample of 1,003 respondents, meaning it was partly conducted before the outbreak of war in Ukraine on February 24. February.

On the same day, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nai confirmed that NATO would create a reinforced forward defense in Slovakia, consisting of hundreds of NATO soldiers.

However, public opinion is negative when considering American soldiers: only 29% of people questioned by the Focus agency say they are in favor of their presence in Slovakia, while 67% say they are against. Four percent of respondents declined to comment.

The poll also showed that 61% of people in Slovakia support NATO membership, while 36% of respondents were against and 3% did not answer the question.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) said this weekend that NATO troops are expected to arrive in Slovakia with technology worth around one billion euros. Under normal circumstances, it would take years for Slovakia to procure this technology, he added.

Heger confirmed the plans the government had announced earlier: NATO will set up a reinforced forward defense unit in Slovakia, with around 1,200 soldiers from Germany, the Netherlands, Czechia, Poland and Slovenia. . German and Dutch soldiers are to arrive with the Patriot anti-missile system, while Czech soldiers will help Slovakia with cybersecurity. If the United States provides its Sentinel air defense and missile radar system, American troops would become part of the NATO presence in the country.

The exact date of the arrival of the allies is unclear at this time. This will depend on the agreements within NATO.

Heger also raised the possibility of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, demanded by the Ukrainian government. The Slovak prime minister said “everything is on the table”, but stressed that a no-fly zone is one step before the last.

President Zuzana Čaputová also commented on a no-fly zone on weekend political talk shows, saying such a move could lead to World War III.

Learn more about the war in Ukraine

  • A total of 128,170 Ukrainians crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border from Monday morning; 6,078 requested temporary protection and 153 asylum. The waiting time at the Ubľa crossing point is currently around 10 hours, while people at the Vyšné Nemecké and Veľké Slemence border crossing points are processed without waiting on the Slovak side, according to the Ministry of Interior .
  • A group of Slovak MPs filed a criminal complaint against Russian officials with President Vladimir Putin at the helm, in connection with the March 4 invasion of Ukraine. Monday, two OĽaNO deputies filed a criminal complaint against several politicians for their statements regarding the war in Ukraine, in which they mainly spread Russian propaganda and defend the steps of the Russians.
  • The state will only pay a financial contribution for accommodation to people who accommodate refugees with temporary protection status, said Finance Minister Igor Matovič (OĽaNO). To avoid potential fraud, limits should be set on the number of refugees accommodated in a unit.
  • The Slovak cabinet approved the arrival of 50 soldiers and technology from the Czech Republic, which will help with the influx of refugees from Ukraine. They will build a camp with a capacity of 400 people near Liptovský Mikuláš. (TASR)
  • Over the weekend, the police and several media reported the story of an 11-year-old boy from the Zaporizhzhia region who crossed the border alone, with a plastic bag, his passport and his telephone number written on his hand, because his parents had to stay in Ukraine. He was treated by the volunteers, before they called his relatives who then came to pick him up at the border. A total of 69 unaccompanied children crossed the border on Monday, the daily Sme reports.

For a more in-depth look at the news, see our Last week in Slovakia article published earlier today. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Two years of living with the pandemic

Yesterday, Slovakia celebrated its two years since the confirmation of the first case of Covid on its territory, on March 6, 2020.

Even if the situation improves and it is possible that the Omicron wave is already descending, one must be careful and protect oneself, said chief hygienist Ján Mikas.

“Pandemic fatigue, the improving situation as well as new threats prompt a loss of distrust,” Mikas said. “But it is extremely important to contribute to the positive trend by respecting the basic rules of personal protection: covering your mouth and nose, washing your hands and maintaining social distance.”

He went on to say that the situation is still serious, as the number of new Covid cases revealed by PCR tests still exceeds 10,000 (especially on weekdays) and the rate of positive tests in the total number of tests is higher than 50%.

Learn more about coronavirus and vaccination

  • 3,419 people were newly diagnosed with Covid out of 6,564 PCR tests performed on March 6. Number of people in hospitals is 2,547; and 17 additional deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is 51.23 percent, and 2,817,824 people received the first dose of the vaccine. More statistics on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • The hospitals in Trnava and Banská Bystrica will be begin administering the Nuvaxovid coronavirus vaccine by Novavax on March 10; a day later it will be administered at the vaccination center of the Prešov hospital and from March 14 in a total of 46 vaccination centers. The vaccine is suitable for those who had contraindications to previously approved vaccines, according to the Ministry of Health.

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Picture of the day

Ukrainian refugees who took refuge in the Inovecká Chata chalet in the Trenčín region cooked borscht as a thank you for their help. 22 women and children were accommodated in the chalet.

Report for today

Business service centers in Slovakia are gradually transforming from unsatisfactory transactional roles into activities requiring special skills and expertise. The history of Henkel’s business service center in Bratislava follows this trend. In 15 years, it has developed into a center that offers activities beneficial to the entire company.

The Slovak viewer spoke with Christian Schulz, President of Henkel Slovensko and Head of Global Business Solutions+ Bratislava, about the impacts of the pandemic and the changing workforce needs of the center he leads.

Skilled foreign workers safeguard jobs in Slovakia in the long term Read more

In other news

  • The rise of the opposition Smer party seems to have stalled. The party remains the second most supported party in Slovakia, after Hlas, but it has fallen compared to January, as evidenced by the February poll carried out by the agency Focus for the private channel TV Markíza.
  • The appeal process with Marian Kotlebachairman of the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), in the case of controversial checks worth 1,488 euros, will not take place tomorrow, as originally planned. The reason is Kotleba’s request to learn more about the new evidence presented by the Special Prosecutor’s Office. Kotleba was sentenced to four years and four months in prison in October 2020, but he appealed.
  • The secondary school leaving exam, known as maturita in Slovak, will take place as planned, but will consider distance learning. One of the changes for this year is that the external (test) and internal (composition) parts of the exam, scheduled for March 15-18, will last 15 minutes longer, Education Minister Branislav Gröhling ( SaS). The Ministry has published a manual prepared by an association of secondary school students.
  • The Ministry of the Interior will purchase technical equipment and information and communication systems for the Ukrainian border worth more than €817,000 companies Technopol International, Microcomp – Computersystém and eGroup Solutions. Given the emergency situation, the ministry is using the negotiated procedure for the purchase.
  • Number of personal bankruptcies in Slovakia amounted to 732 in February, up 9.42% year-on-year. In monthly terms, it fell 0.27%, according to data from the firm CRIF SK.
  • Slovakia has already won three gold medals at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Two were won by paraskier Henrieta Farkašová (women’s downhill and super combined) and one by paraskier Alexandra Rexová (Super-G).

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