The measure for professional soldiers encountered the thrill at the Army members

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Government will solve the longstanding problem of the professional soldiers.

Once they finish the service to the age of 45, they will be employed in other institutions, government agencies and in several ministries.

A series of positive comments came days immediately after announcement of the new measure.

In the interview with Kurir, the Deputy Minister of Defense Emil Dimitirev, explains the importance of these measures and welfare that 3700 Macedonian families of professional soldiers will feel.

What were the problems of professional soldiers so far and which of their worries will become past with the new government measures?

Dimitirev: You need to make certain retrospective of the status of professional soldiers from the time when the Republic of Macedonia entered into a process, and it is professionalization of the Army, leaving the recruiting system and the introduction of professional composition of Army. These beginnings were limited to maximum 3 contracts of 3 years, i.e. maximum 9 years of service, and with certain amendments the limit was defined to the age of 35 years. That was true until 2007 when the government decided to increase the age limits from 35 to 38 years, due to the demands of professional soldiers because the soldiers reached the age of 35 years and were leaving the Army. However, this first increase did not address the problems of professional soldiers, and came to the second increase in 2012 from 38 to 45 years. And then we realized that it is not permanent solution for professional soldiers, that it delays the resolution of this problem for certain period, provides a degree of confidence, but yet when people reach the age of 45 years it opens the dilemmas about their existential status and in respect of their position in system. Having this in mind, we were thinking all the time and we were in communication with professional soldiers and to my delight and pleasure to all employees of the Ministry and the Army, we found understanding from the Prime Minister Mr. Gruevski. At the last session, he proposed the Ministry to prepare amendments to the Law on military service and we anticipate resolving the status of professional soldiers through employment in state institutions. This measure was welcomed with ultimate thrill by the Army and all staff, not only among professional soldiers who were directly affected. Besides it solves the problem of 3,700 members of the Army, the measure will cause other positive phenomena in terms of easier commanding. If we look retrospectively, the status of professional soldiers evolved in a positive way and today will be resolved through this final and permanent solution for them.

Dimitirev: I will explain the importance of this decision in a few parameters. We did an analysis and we looked at the daily operation of the Army. As professional soldiers are approaching the age, the morale and enthusiasm was decreasing and by that, the quality of what is called everyday work obligation. Everybody thought they are approaching the end of service in the Army; they were more condensed with the idea of leaving the Army. They went to work and their professional obligations performed proverb without thinking, because they had to. The moral dimension was lacking, a thing which is most important for an Army. Armies are measured at several aspects, equipment, training, morale etc. Therefore, these are the few key things about perception and how an Army is ready. It gave us sufficient reason to intervene, that people really have a problem that they must solve. It is not small number of families that are influenced by this measure as it affects their overall daily life. They are our citizens and the mood in their families, their communities depends on their mood. Particular social group of about 4,000 people is not satisfied with their status. This created resentment and other social problems that this measure can solve them. This measure will have far-reaching positive effects that as time passes by will be more visible. From today’s perspective, we felt this influence even in the first days after the measure was announced. Immediately was felt improved garrisons’ working atmosphere. It affects the combat readiness of the Army; affect many things that are positive and significant for the functioning of this institution.

The Prime Minister, announcing this measure emphasized that professional soldiers after reaching the age of 45 years could work in the Ministry of Defense, in security service in the services of the Ministry of Interior, prison police within the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry Agriculture at the forest guards.

Dimitirev: The employment in the state institutions will be in accordance with existing laws and regulations that apply to those institutions and their collective agreements. The employment of professional soldiers must not cause some distortion in the system. It should be in accordance with law, based on their level of education they will be taken by the relevant authorities and from the moment, they enter in the institutions they would be subject to these regulations that are applicable to these institutions.

Dimitirev: One of the benefits of this measure is to increase the popularity of position professional soldier. I expect that at the first reference session for voluntary service, which is the first prerequisite for employment of professional soldier, we will get increased number of candidates who will apply for voluntary service. We expect immediate increase and it will continue to affect the quality of people who will apply for professional soldiers. We will have increased the quantity and the quantity must bring in higher quality. We needed the voluntary service as on the other side we will fill in the reserve. So not all of they will be employed as professional soldiers, one part will go into reserve.

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