Defence minister Martin Glvac and labour minister Jan Richter held a joint press conference yesterday to announce the government’s plans to train up the unemployed to deal with emergency situations as part of a reserve civil defence corps.
Overall, the Slovak military is lacking in numbers after the cancellation of compulsory military service a few years ago, so now the idea is to get the unemployed to take part in a voluntary military service project so they can help out in the event of some natural disaster, predominantly flooding.
Labour minister Richter noted that almost one third of the country’s unemployed are under thirty years of age and so the scheme could utilise them perfectly for the objective, which they hope to have financed from EU funding (scheme should cost around EUR 8,000 per participant).
Just now the scheme is voluntary, but with the incentive of about EUR 250 extra on top of the EUR 180 or so they receive in unemployment benefit, it could become very popular. The training would last about six months and the hope is to build up a trained reserve of volunteers who can be mobilised when needed. The news comes as the country is wrestling with its highest unemployment rate in over eight years.