The Association of Soldiers of the Slovak Republic (ZV SR) has several options at different levels through which it can fulfil its missions
It is a long period, during which a strong mutual symbiosis has been created between our Association of Soldiers of the Slovak Republic (ZV SR) and EUROMIL. During this period, EUROMIL showed support to our association in all available forms. President of EUROMIL personally participated several times in important negotiations of the Presidium of our association, in conferences and met with the Minister of Defence of the SR. In 2022, the 125th General Assembly of EUROMIL took place in Slovakia. We express great appreciation and thanks for the support and help of EUROMIL during our membership.
ZV SR is an association of professional soldiers in active duty, retired soldiers, veterans, and family members of all categories of soldiers. The membership of our 29 clubs mostly consists of retired soldiers or veterans, which of course has an impact on the average age and at the same time a decrease the number of members. We are failing to get more soldiers on active duty. These factors also significantly affect the activities of our clubs. The time has come when we have to change the development strategy and focus on the future of ZV SR. We need to pay more attention to the young generation of soldiers, capture their interest.
When analysing this situation, we also identified the following 5 main factors:
- the impact of the current regional geopolitical situation on the social security of the local population, families of soldiers of all categories,
- the war in a neighbouring country and numerous hybrid threats affect the security situation in the Slovak Republic, which requires greater deployment of forces and resources to defend and protect our security,
- soldiers in active duty are overworked, they often alternate between services, due to the current hybrid threats they must perform unusual tasks,
- the ongoing massive modernization of the Slovak Armed Forces, the introduction of new combat equipment requires the training of new personnel and changes in the training methods,
- soldiers are often separated from their families; they are not very interested in socializing in any associations.
Trade union activity in our armed forces is prohibited by law. Soldiers in active duty are afraid to get involved in the activities of associations. Therefore, our ZV SR must look for methods and forms of work that do not contradict the law and we will continue to support the preservation of the current form of soldiers’ association. We will not be able to support the transformation into trade union organization.
The level of social security of our soldiers in active service and in retirement is higher compared to other groups of society, but also compared to some countries of the former Eastern Bloc. However, this level is far below the standards in the countries of Western Europe. Even though we are part of the same common defence systems (NATO, EU BG), there are still differences in the provision of soldiers in active service and in retirement. Therefore, we fully support EUROMIL’s declaration that it welcomes the recommendations made by the European Parliament and supports the further European defence integration and underlines the need for securing workers’ rights. More precisely, it notes that the Rapid Deployment Capacity (RDC) will be made up of forces that will train and work together and if they are under EU command, these soldiers should enjoy equal working and social rights.
Our association ZV SR fully supports efforts to ensure strong, adequate, and equal social security for all categories of soldiers, both men and women. In this year we organize several important events at the international level. On 7th and 8th September, we are organizing an international conference on the topic: “Protection of legitimate interests and rights of the soldier” and then on 9th and 10th September, the 28th event of the International Military Climbing to Kriváň Peak will take place. We invite representatives of the Slovak political elite, the minister defence, representatives and experts of the MOD, the Armed Forces, the Academy of the Armed Forces of the SR, University of Defence in Brno (CZE), defence attachés , delegation of EUROMIL and our partners of the Visegrad Group countries. Of course, we would like to welcome everyone, who shows interest in participating in the mentioned activities.
The conference will be divided into three panels:
- the national and European legislative framework,
- exchange of experience in the promotion and protection of the legitimate interests and rights of soldiers (in active service and retired, or veterans),
- the status and role of women in the armed forces, gender.
With the support of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic we are organizing an important survey on the satisfaction of women, female soldiers. The survey lasts from the beginning to the end of May 2023, and it enjoys great popularity among female soldiers of various age categories. The questions mainly concerns their satisfaction with the current state of social security during active service and after it, relations between men and women, pitfalls and obstacles in the integration of women in military collectives, acceptance of women in the workplace, fairness of remuneration, reconciliation of service and private life of female soldiers, material security of women in combat units and women’s perspective on the creation of independent civil associations, or their greater representation in our association ZV SR. The results of the survey will be evaluated in June and the officials of the Ministry of Defence, and the command of the Slovak Armed Forces will be informed. These results will be also presented in the third panel of the above-mentioned Conference in September.
In the protection of social security, pension claims and rights ZV SR works on three mutually connected levels which that complement each other and support each other in their efforts.
- First level is our association ZV SR.
- Second level is the Union of Military Civic Associations of the SR (AVOZ). The main mission of AVOZ is to bring together and integrate the power of many different military civic associations existing in Slovakia. AVOZ is, a free joint professional association with a professional relationship with the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, while maintaining political independence and impartiality.
- Third level is the Union of Security and Defence Forces Pensioners of the Slovak Republic (ÚVD SR). Associations and trade unions in the sphere of the Ministries of the Interior, Defence, Justice, and Finance, are operating together within the ÚVD. This interministerial union will be an advisory body to the government and parliament of the SR in dealing with the social security of all retired officers (policemen, soldiers, firefighters, security forces, prison and justice guards, financial police, and rescue forces).
As you see our association ZV SR has several options at different levels through which it can fulfill its mission.
These activities are a positive contribution in the fight for the protection of legitimate interests and rights of members of the armed and rescue forces.
Created by Colonel Ret. Eduard Csonga – Vice President ZV SR
Association of Soldiers of the Slovak Republic (ZV SR)