Negotiations of Military Unions and Associations of Visegrad Group Countries
19-22 September, Rozewie (POL)
Representatives of the Honvédszakszerwezet from the Republic of Hungary, the Union of Soldiers of the Vocational Army of the Czech Republic, the Union of Soldiers of the Slovak Republic and the Konwent Dziekanów Korpus Oficerów Zawodowych from the Republic of Poland met from 19th to 22nd September 2023 in Poland on XXIII. meeting of the management of representative organizations of professional (active) soldiers, reservists and military pensioners of the Visegrad Group countries. Theme XXIII. the meeting held in Rozewie, Gdynia, Hel and Gdańsk (Westerplatte) was “Further development of the armed forces – tasks facing the representative organizations of soldiers, supporting this process”.
The delegation of the ZV SR consisting of the president Col. Ret. Dipl. Eng. Gabriel Merňák and the vice president for foreign cooperation Col. Ret. Dipl. Eng. Eduard Csonga represented the union at the meeting. Current threats to European countries, such as the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing migration crisis, necessitate the development of armed forces, a process currently underway in the Visegrad Group countries. Regardless of whether the changes in the armed forces are related to its quality or quantity, the process cannot be successful without ensuring a satisfactory level of service conditions and social security for the soldiers. Since the main goal of military unions and associations of soldiers in individual Visegrad Group countries is to ensure a satisfactory level of service conditions, especially the legitimate interests and social rights of soldiers, these unions of soldiers should be involved in the process of developing their own armed forces.
The delegates of the unions of individual countries informed about the intentions of defence development in their countries and indicated the possibilities of supporting this process. The possibilities of individual unions differ mainly due to the very different working conditions of unions in individual countries, including the available budget for union activity. A non-negligible condition and basic prerequisite for the effectiveness of the activity is the relationship of the Ministry of Defence to the union or association. The Slovak representatives of the association highlighted the significant improvement in the relationship between the Ministry of Defence, General Staff of the Armed Forces and the ZV SR and the strengthening of our position in the military community in the Slovak Republic. At the same time, they pointed to the fact, that in the near future the union plans to focus on its own consolidation and recruitment of new long-service pensioners and, above all, on professional soldiers.
The topic and the results of the negotiations are extremely important for each participating country, especially in a period of budget insufficiency (despite the current political will to increase defence spending) and due to the constant crises faced by individual countries.
It will be necessary to start a discussion on the topic and goals of the meeting of the unions and associations of the Visegrad Group countries in 2025 in Slovakia, so that the contribution of the ZV SR to cooperation is a full-fledged contribution to the protection of the legitimate interests and rights of soldiers.
Text and photo: Col. Ret. Dipl. Eng. Gabriel Merňák, Col. Ret. Dipl. Eng. Eduard Csonga