NEWS

Carrot, stick for 2004 volunteers

Conscripts rewarded with additional leave from duty for promising to work as unpaid volunteers during the 2004 Olympics will have good reason to honor their pledge. Following a meeting yesterday with Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said conscripts who benefit from incentives but fail to work as volunteers will be recalled to arms after the Games. And he stressed that it would be out of the question for conscripts doing their obligatory military service in the summer of 2004 to work as volunteers, as that would weaken the country’s defenses. The military will provide security during the Games. The government has promised 20-day leave for serving conscripts who promise to volunteer for 2004, and service deferment as well as promotion for future conscripts. But yesterday Deputy Defense Minister Lazaros Lotidis said these incentives would only apply to youths actually selected to work as volunteers, as opposed to mere candidates. Although 2004 officials need some 60,000 volunteers, they hope to be able to choose them from 120-150,000 applicants.