Richter: Voluntary military service could remedy youth unemployment

Labour Minister Ján Richter has lent his support to a project drafted by the Defence Ministry which will introduce voluntary military service and a system of active reserves, the TASR newswire reported on Tuesday, January 29.

Labour Minister Ján Richter has lent his support to a project drafted by the Defence Ministry which will introduce voluntary military service and a system of active reserves, the TASR newswire reported on Tuesday, January 29.

Richter disclosed that his ministry had already proposed to the Defence Ministry a pilot project that would involve employing the long-term unemployed. The project should start in the second half of this year.

"Within the project, we want to offer the opportunity to undergo voluntary military service for six months to approximately 150 people," Richter said. The project will be aimed in particular at employing young people below 29 years of age, who account for almost one-third of all people in Slovakia who are registered as unemployed. Furthermore, it should help those in the poorest regions of central and eastern Slovakia. "Those who take up the option to complete voluntary military service will receive a net salary of €250 [per month] plus free meals and accommodation. [In addition,] there are other motivational benefits in the frame," said Richter, adding that the project is expected to cost €1.2-1.3 million, with expenditure on each recruit amounting to €8,000.

Defence Minister Martin Glváč praised the efforts of his fellow minister, TASR reported.

Richter negotiated the plan with Glváč, the Sme daily reported on 29 January Tuesday. However, a military expert, retired general Jaroslav Kuča, told the paper that the Slovak army does not have enough resources for even its current minimum training requirements.

Glváč and Richter want the Slovak public to comment on the idea and then to develop it for approval by the end of June, Sme reported.

Sources: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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