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Zeman signs laws on military reserves, conscription

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Prague, Jan 28 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman signed three bills related to the military and focusing on the active reserve troops, conscription of soldiers and the military’s assistance in tackling natural disasters into laws yesterday.
The goal of the first bill is to motivate people to join active reserve troops and allow them to voluntarily undergo military training.
The annual financial reward given to the active reserve troops will be three times higher and they will have further advantages if the bill takes effect.
At present, there are some 1200 reservists. The Czech military would like their number to reach 5,000. The army wants to make this kind of involvement attractive especially for university students.
The goal of another bill, or an amendment to the conscription law, is to make more people involved in defence.
The bill enables to deploy active reserve troops in military operations for up to seven months a year, including in foreign missions if they agree with it.
Second, the young people who would voluntarily apply for participation in military training and thus join the military’s voluntary reserves, would undergo a three-month military training within two years.
The current conscription law does not allow for call-ups or military training at peace time. Since 2005, everything has been voluntary and the service only concerns professional soldiers and members of active reserves units.
The government originally proposed the reintroduction of universal conscription of 18-year-olds, but the lawmakers opposed the idea. The lawmakers said the original plan was merely an administratively demanding registration of all the young men and women as it did not include any training.
The bill does not change the valid general defence duty for people aged from 18 to 60. In the state of danger of war, the government would set a binding number of citizens for enlistment, depending on their age and profession.
The third bill that Zeman signed yesterday makes the deployment of soldiers in natural disasters more flexible and adequate in terms of quantity.
The valid law demands that if there is a natural disaster, specialist rescue units should be first called up. However, they only have 200 soldiers and lack the needed equipment, the Defence Ministry said.
The bill also bans political rallies and election campaign in military facilities and in the activities of armed forces outside them.

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