The Cypriot Council of Ministers rejected a plan to reduce military service from 25 to 19 months, Cyprus Mail reported on 11 March 2009. The proposal was axed on the basis that the timing is not right for such a scheme, while the Defence Ministry blamed the stance taken by the majority of the parties for the proposal’s failure.
“Due to the stance taken by the majority of the political parties it is very difficult for the Ministry to move forward, because we do not wish to do something with which the political scene disagrees,” Costas Papacostas said according to Cyprus Mail.
The proposal provided that conscription service is reduced gradually to 19 months, on the condition that each year there are two waves of conscripts; 18-year-old high-school graduates should start their military service in July, while those who are not 18 by July will wait until January to enter the National Guard. The majority of political parties disagreed with this double-conscription proposal, arguing that the system would cause social problems.
Papacostas confirmed that the issue will be re-introduced in the future, but because the timelines have not been followed, the reduction in service cannot take place in 2009 as was initially proposed.
The related proposal for the reform of the National Guard has also been halted for the time being. Although the two proposals are considered separate, Defence Ministry believes that they complement each other and should be introduced simultaneously.
“The National Guard reform and the reduction of national guard service are separate issues but are connected, because the re-organisation will not be possible without the reduced service. Unfortunately, the majority of political parties disagree both with the reform and with the reduction in service,” Papacostas explained.
Sources: Cyprus Mail: Compulsory army service reduction off the cards ‘for now’, 11 March 2009