Exactly 10 years ago, not further than 150 meters from the building of Slovak Ministry of Interior, had the young man with long hair and a guitar died because of severe wounds caused by a knife attack. In spite of the fact that in the past, multiple persons from slovak neonazi scene were charged and prosecuted the Ministry, since murder twice led by current Minister Robert Kalinak, had failed to find the murderer and instead liberated all suspects, also associated with the mafia group known as "piťovci".
Whether both Ministries of Interior and Justice had done what they could to investigate the case is, of course, place for argument. But according to the father of the murdered philosphy student, they didn't, and while obliged to "accept" the non-prosecution of killers as a fact, the father still consideres as "a mystery" why the police refused to use the lie detector when in other cases (e.g. security clearances), it does. (Read more...)
IT professionals call for paradigm shift in informatization of slovak society
Almost 3000 Slovak netizens have signed the "call for opened collaboration" published on site slovensko.digital. In their call, many prominent IT specialist from private sector, 3rd sector as well as Academia openly criticize corrupt investments of public and european money and invite the government to collaborate on more transparent solutions.
Being far from marginal, signataries of the call have received support from the head of the state, president Andrej Kiska, stating that "after 8 years, the state has succeeded to accomplish exactly half of itss assignment - to spend 900 million euros" and labeling the current status quo of slovak informatic society as a "shame". (Read more...)
Two people charged in PandurGate
The investigation of the case which involves also one of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s friends Miroslav Výboh, has been closed.
The Austrian prosecutor’s office charged two people in the corruption case pertaining to the purchase of the armoured vehicles for the Czech Republic worth billions of Czech crowns. The part of the investigation which took place in Austria has been leading to Výboh and Israeli citizen Lova Drori, who worked for the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. (Read more...)
sk16 project - a brief initiation
More than 9 months before the SK PRES and our websites sk16.eu and 2016sk.eu have been viewed more than 5000 times in less than 2 days. Hence, it is time to introduce ourselves:
Project sk16 is a tactical medium whose objective is to aggregate informations coming principially from 3rd sector institutions (NGOs) and furnish them - during Slovak Republic's 2016 presidency of European Council (SK PRES) - to international audience.
A brief introduction to the project is presented on this presentation (use arrows keys or spacebar to move between the slides).
In Slovakia, Ban Ki-moon highlights importance of living harmoniously and sustainably
Visiting the Slovak city of Levoca, the United Nations Secretary-General stressed the importance of the role of the local community, particularly mayors and governors, and the importance of living harmoniously and in a sustainable way.
“I am honoured and pleased to visit this historic city of Levoca, and I’d like to thank you for all your efforts to preserve this historical culture and heritage, and civilization and proud history of your country,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters at the town’s City Hall. (Read more...)
Government agency funds startup conference worth of 2% of European Presidency
Director of a partially state-run Slovak Business Agency starts to have some difficult time in explaining the (€1.4 million) costs of the startup conference TechMatch.
The fact that decision-makers of a country where an average monthly salary of a university teacher is estimated to be around € 890 eur a month (source) hadn't hesitate to pay €60000 euro to Guy Kawasaki had also raised certain eyebrows.
However, participants seemed to enjoy the event, notably after the Keynote speaker had reassured them that he's not to be associated with the motocycle production: "I have worked with Steve Jobs", boasted Kawasaki, thus initiating a singular event worth cca. 2% of budget of whole SK PRES 6-month presidency.
Slovakia qualified for UEFA's EURO 2016
FOR THE first time in the history of independent Slovakia, the country’s football representation advances to the European Championship taking place in France next year.
The match against Luxembourg ended up with a final score of 4:2. Slovak goals were scored by Marek Hamšík, Adam Nemec and Robert Mak. Mario Mutch and Jans Gerson scored for Luxembourg. Read more...
Slovak NGOs concerned about billion € over-pricing of Bratislava bypass
Being famous for its strongly pro-automobile politics, capital without a metro, most ugly central train station and very expensive highways (12.5 million eur/km) in Europe, Slovak ministry of transport and construction has decided to break another record in "friend-directed distribution of public and european money".
Thus, more than 4.2 billion EUR are supposed to be invested into 20th-century style circle of ring and asphalt and concrete surrounding Bratislava. Id est, twice as much as was invested into bypass of neighboring austrian capital Wien.
According to study recently published by non-governmental Institute for Economic and Social Reforms, the project is based on manipulated data and overpriced for at least 800-million euros.
Know more from the infographics: Better ways how to spend 4 200 000 000€ instead of overpriced bypass road.
Slovak President highly critical towards government's anti-refugee stance
President Andrej Kiska delivered a speech before the MPs of the Slovak National Council on the position of Slovakia in Europe on Wednesday. Here are the highlights from his address:
"Slovakia has the capacities to help. Accepting several hundred or even thousand people fleeing from the war and violence would definitely be in Slovakia’s powers. It would pose no threat to Slovakia, nor would it have any impact on how good or bad the life of people living in Slovakia is. A lot of associations and individuals, Christian and other organisations have offered to help the people who are trying to escape the war and its atrocities." Read more...
EU presidency brings better air route
Slovak EU presidency will bring the country a more convenient connection with Brussels. The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair will fly passengers from Bratislava to Brussels’ main airport instead of the more distant Charleroi airport as of April 2016.
“Ryanair … has promptly responded to our request to move its flight from the more distant Charleroi airport where it flew so far to the main airport Brussels-Zaventem as of April 2016,” said Ivan Trhlík, CEO of Letisko M. R. Štefánika – Airport Bratislava, as cited in the airport’s press release. “In line with the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July 2016 the demand for a direct and regular daily air connection of Bratislava and Brussels will significantly increase.” Read more...
Slovakia pushes ahead with legal action over EU migrant quotas
Slovakia is to take legal action at the European Court of Justice against the European Union's plan to force all member countries share out 120,000 asylum seekers, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Wednesday.
Slovakia should initially take in 802 migrants under the EU relocation scheme, which it sees as an encouragement for migrants to keep coming. Read more...
The Five Grave Errors Of The Slovak Government In The Refugee Crisis
Let us focus solely on the last (at this moment) stage of this drama: The EU Council of Ministers has used the “nuclear option” of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in a politically highly sensitive area. The PM of one member state – Slovakia – says that he will simply ignore that legitimate decision. “From my dead-cold hand.” He will deliberately breach European law, risking open conflict with the institutions and most of the other member states. Even the prospect of sanctions.
There are a couple of bad things you could say about Fico, but surely not that he’s stupid. He knows that playing with deep-seeded prejudices – against “the others”, which now means Muslims, against the “dictate from Brussels”, etc. – scores political points. He knows only too well that infringement procedures take a long time to unfurl. No decision can be expected before the next general elections. For now, that´s what counts. And, of course, he knows that between now and a possible Court decision against Slovakia, hundreds of things could happen. Read more...
S&D leader proposes expelling the Slovak SMER
On Wednesday, the President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, proposed to suspend the Slovak Direction Third Way Party (SMER) from the Party of European Socialists (PES).
This is not the first time SMER’s membership of the Party of European Socialists would be suspended. The same happened in 2006, following the party’s alliance with ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party. The PES Chairman at the time, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, explained to the Slovak press that “… forming a coalition with the extreme right is unacceptable.” Read more...
Conservative Socialism: the Curious Case of Slovakia’s Social Democratic Party
European social democratic parties are parties traditionally associated with economic policies of taxing and spending and policies designed to fighting discrimination. And while most socialists in Europe remain true to these values, especially the latter, Slovakia’s socialists live a comfortable illusion that they too can call themselves social democrats regardless of the policies they pursue...
While not neo-liberal in the extreme, the country’s social democrats have found themselves more comfortable in a territory of the centre-right than that of the centre-left.The leader of the Slovak socialists and the current Prime Minister Robert Fico has attributed to and blamed the higher levels of unemployment on the Roma people who are mostly jobless. Unfortunately, the Roma are not the only minority in the country that has been blessed with attention from the so-called socialists. While issues such as gender equality and separation of Church and state have become taboo (in itself another failure of the socialists), Smer have authored and initiated, along with the Christian Democrats, an insertion into the country’s constitution of a definition of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.
Letter of support for Plea for Humanity
As we can see, the refugees are certainly in need of acts of kindness. I hope there will be concerted efforts in doing whatever we can to help to alleviate their sufferings, considering that they are fellow brothers and sisters.
I am therefore pleased to join Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic and many of his friends in their Plea for Humanity over the migrant crisis currently facing Europe.
JOINT STATEMENT OF THE HEADS OF GOVERNMENTS OF THE VISEGRAD GROUP COUNTRIES
We, the Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group, meeting in Prague on 4 September 2015 on the
occasion of an Extraordinary Visegrad GroupSummit on migration adopt hereby the following Joint
The countries of the Visegrad Group express profound sadness over the loss of lives of thousands of
people in the context of the current migration situation in Europe. They underline that migration flows
present a complex and serious challenge for the EU and its MemberStates. Hungary belongs among
those most exposed to migratory pressures and affected by their impacts. The Prime Ministers of the
CzechRepublic, Poland and the SlovakRepublic therefore reiterate their full support to Hungary in
tackling this challenge. As an expression of their solidarity, the Prime Ministers stand ready to provide
Hungary with further assistance.
My own dreams are fading away. Dreams about returning home to my beautiful Slovakia, dreams about walking barefoot in the grass, drinking fresh water from the tap, speaking my mother tongue again…these dreams fade away because of one world: HATE. I still can’t believe that back home, I will meet people who hate other people so much, wishing them death.
Nowadays, this is the hot topic, never-ending discussion in Europe and in my home country. I’m not able to provide a long term solution; these few words of mine are meant to lead to a small experiment. Look out of your home window please and imagine that this is the last time in your life that you see your familiar surroundings. Read more...
SK16.EU supports the Plea for Humanity
Today 71 people died on our doorstep. Children, women and men. They were not terrorists, they were people fleeing war. They died in terrible circumstances, suffocating in a van left parked at the side of a road.
It did not happen in Africa, it did not happen in the Mediterranean, it happened a couple of kilometers outside of Slovakia. If we liked to think that the suffering of refugees is something distant, something that doesn’t concern us, we can no longer do so.
What happened today shows the suffering of refugees is not an abstract political problem. It is a matter of life and death of individual humans. No decent person can stay indifferent when people die before her very eyes. We must try to help. Read more...
Statement on the anniversary of invading Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968
Today, the Slovak Republic commemorates the 47th anniversary of Warsaw Pact troops invading Czechoslovakia and the start of more than twenty years of Soviet occupation of our country. These events represent a dark chapter in the history of the traditionally good Slovak-Russian relations. The Slovak Republic appreciates that, in the past, top political representatives of the Russian Federation have officially dissociated themselves from and apologized for the August 1968 invasion and the occupation that followed. A necessary prerequisite for a constructive development of bilateral relations is to come to terms with the past based on historic facts.
Unfortunately, attempts to rewrite history and falsify the historic truth about the invasion of Czechoslovakia continue to appear. In May 2015, the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) broadcasted a documentary entitled “Warsaw Pact – Pages Declassified” with the authors´ commentary containing misrepresentations and old ideological clichés.
Slovakia to EU: We’ll Take Migrants — If They’re Christians
Slovakian Interior Ministry spokesman Ivan Metik now insists that Slovakia will only accept Christian arrivals to the Eastern European nation. And he warned this week that Muslims should not move to Slovakia because they will not easily integrate with the country’s majority Christian population.
“We could take 800 Muslims, but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia, so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?” he told the BBC.
Climate change also threatens Slovakia
EXTREMELY hot weather from which Slovakia suffered this year is beyond the expectations of climatologists.
“What we are witnessing now should have occurred only in the middle of this century,” climatologists Alexander Ač, Pavel Matejovič and Jozef Pecho wrote in an open letter to the president, the government, and the parliament, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “The reality is thus much worse than the most pessimistic climate scenarios.”
The Environment Ministry claims it tries to stop climate change. The problem should, however, be solved also on the global level, said its spokesperson Maroš Stano. He also said that Slovakia in this respect supports European Union policy, as reported by TASR.
Seeking artists, architects and graphical designers to bring Slovakia to Brussels
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic offers artists, architects and graphical designers a unique opportunity to be involved in a visual presentation of Slovakia’s first-ever presidency of the Council of the European Union and design the decoration of the Council’s premises in the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels.
The public call for submission of projects for artistic design of premises in the Council building, which is expected to combine creativity and a positive message about Slovakia, was published by the Ministry on its website on 31 July 2015.
Slovak Debt Rating Raised by S&P on Growth
Slovakia’s credit rating was raised by Standard & Poor’s, which cited accelerating economic growth and government efforts to narrow the budget deficit and trim debt.
The euro-area member’s assessment was increased one step to A+, S&P’s fifth-top investment grade and on par with Israel and Ireland. “We expect growth in the Slovak Republic will accelerate further in 2015, supported by favorable external and domestic factors,” S&P analyst Felix Winnekens said Friday in an e-mailed statement from Frankfurt. “Policy makers will continue to gradually consolidate government finances and lower the debt burden.”
Slovakia to house Austrian asylum-seekers in Gabčíkovo
THE AUSTRIAN government calls its recent deal to have Slovakia accommodate hundreds of asylum-seekers who no longer fit into the overcrowded camps in Austria a pilot project, but officials admit the two year plan could be extended.
Some 500 asylum-seekers in Austria should find a temporary home in Slovakia. The deal is to last two years, but if the project proves successful, it could be prolonged to three or even four years.
Slovakia prepares for EU Presidency
IN EXACTLY one year Slovakia will take over, for the first time in its history, the six-month EU presidency.
“This is an unprecedented challenge not only for the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry and the cabinet but the whole country,” Miroslav Lajcak, the foreign affairs minister, said on July 1, when speaking about preparations to date, adding that Slovakia’s partners, European institutions and individual EU member countries will assess Slovakia based on how it handles this opportunity, how it manages the Council of the EU, and how far it is able to move the EU agenda forward and reach agreements...
Fourth meeting between countries who will take over EU presidency in 2016-17
The Trio that will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union between January 2016 and June 2017 – the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta – held further talks today in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Following the last meeting of the Trio held in Malta in March 2015, talks in Slovakia continue to define the common agenda which will be addressing the main issues that the Council will be dealing with throughout the 18 months..
Statement of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic on the documentary film of the Russian television about the 1968 invasion
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic has been unpleasantly surprised by the misleading presentation of the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies in Czechoslovakia in 1968 in the documentary “Warsaw Pact - Pages Declassified” broadcast by Russian state television Rossija 1 on May 23, 2015.
In the parts concerning the military invasion and the subsequent 20-year occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet armies, the documentary used misrepresentations and old ideological clichés...
Broadcasting this documentary, which attempts to rewrite history and to falsify historical truths about such a dark chapter of our history, damages the traditionally good relations between Slovakia and Russia.
Lajcak cuts ribbon of new building of Slovakia’s Representation to EU
Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak officially opened the temporary building of the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the European Union in Brussels on May 18.
Ivan Korčok, Ambassador at the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU in Brussels and others attended the ceremony. The rental contract for the building will last three years. The premises are designed to serve mainly the needs of Slovakia’s EU Presidency in the second half of 2016.
“This represents an important milestone in our preparations for the EU Presidency,” said Lajcak after cutting the ribbon at the new building as cited by the TASR newswire. “This will be our main facility, our captain’s bridge, from which Slovakia will control processes within the EU.” Read more...
Erdogan believes Slovakia will quicken Turkey's EU process
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes Slovakia will speed up his country's long-standing EU accession process during its term presidency in the organization in 2016.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava on Tuesday, Erdogan said Turkey attached high importance to Slovakia's term of presidency in the EU in 2016's second term.
He said: "Slovakia will take over the term presidency in the EU in 2016. I wish them good luck in advance and believe that Slovakia will speed up this process, which sometimes came to the blocking point."
Slovakia will pay €70 million for EU presidency
During the presidency there will be about 200 negotiations attended by some 20,000 people held in Bratislava, as well as other summits which will take place in Brussels. The costs should not exceed €70 million, according to Sme.
Ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) is, however, concerned about potential corruption, especially regarding the public procurement where the Foreign Affairs Ministry, as an organiser of the presidency, will have some exceptions.
Employment as a potential priority issue of Slovakia's EU presidency
Employment, interlinked particularly with education, is a good potential issue to be included in the priorities of the Slovak presidency of the EU Council that was agreed on by panellists at the 2nd workshop of the National Convention on the EU at which discussions were held on possible presidency priorities.
Design Slovakia’s EU Presidency Logo
The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has announced the competition to design Slovakia’s logo for its EU Presidency in the second half of next year, with a financial reward of 4500 eur for the best proposal.
Slovak Public Rejects Efforts to Limit Human Rights
A low turnout in a Slovakia referendum on February 7, 2015, scuttled a measure that would have set the scene for legalized discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples, Human Rights Watch said today. The decision of the majority of voters not to participate in the referendum on this regressive measure offers some comfort to minorities in Slovakia.
“The Slovak public has indicated it does not want arbitrary discrimination against LGBT families,” said the LGBT rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The Slovakian government should protect LGBT people and their children by introducing legislation that is in line with their obligations as an EU member state and with legislation in other EU countries.”
EU presidency in 2016 to focus on energy and tax evasion
ENERGY, the fight against tax evasion and water issues may well be among the priorities of Slovakia’s 2016 EU presidency, according to Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak, the TASR newswire reported on January 12.
“These are the issues interesting for Slovakia,” Lajcak said after his meeting with representatives of political parties Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Most-Híd, and Sieť.
On July 1, 2016, Slovakia will replace the Netherlands that will preside over the EU as of January. According to EU rules, the presidency always falls under the remit of a group of three states for the duration of 18 months. Slovakia will assume this responsibility along with the Netherlands and Malta.