Cyprus: Government examining options on reduction of military service

According to a report in Cyprus Mail from 12 August 2008, the Cypriot government is examining to reduce the length of military service from 25 to 19 months.

“The project for the restructuring of the National Guard and the modernisation of the Republic’s armed forces, including a reduction of the military service from 25 to 19 months, is now being studied by the Ministry,” Cypriot Defence Minister Costas Papacostas told the Cyprus News Agency.

According to the article in Cyprus Mail, the final evaluation of the project, submitted to him at the end of June, will be ready by the end of November and then it will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for discussion and final approval.

“We are evaluating around 10-12 scenarios with different parameters and prerequisites. The Ministry will agree on two or three proposals which it will put before the Council of Ministers for discussion and approval,” Papacostas told Cyprus Mail.

He also said his ministry was collaborating with a private company on an opinion poll to gauge the feeling among young Cypriots and their parents on the issue of national service.

According to Cyprus Mail, one of the scenarios being looked at was the possibility that conscripts, once released from the military, could return to serve with the National Guard on a voluntary and semi-professional basis.

Papacostas told Cyprus Mail that if the length of service was reduced to 19 months, the status of ‘soldier of short-term service’ could be introduced to fill the gap when conscripts under a new regimen would be released six months earlier than usual at the end of their conscription term.

The National Guard could ‘employ’ many of the same youngsters on a six-month contract until they go to university the following September.

Papacostas said the reduction in military service could only be made in stages.

Source: Cyprus Mail, 12 August 2008