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German defence minister to present proposal for military service

In World
June 10, 2024

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius plans to present his proposal for a new German military service model on Wednesday at both a press conference and before parliament’s Defence Committee.

Pistorius has indicated he supports some form of compulsory military service, at least to a limited degree, a controversial issue in Germany.

The country effectively abolished compulsory military or civil service for men in 2011 after 55 years, although German law still provides for possible conscription in the event of war or other tensions.

But Germany’s military has faced manpower shortages in recent years and last year shrank to 181,500 soldiers despite new efforts to attract volunteers.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine prompted a reckoning over the state of Germany’s depleted military and a pledge from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to rebuild the armed forces.

Pistorius commissioned studies of various models of compulsory service. The minister indicated during a debate in parliament that he does not believe that Germany can rely entirely on volunteers for military service.

“I am firmly convinced that it will not work without compulsory components,” he said.

Pistorius and other leaders have repeatedly expressed concerns that major investments in the military are needed so that it is adequately prepared to defend the country and Germany’s NATO allies.

Pistorius has repeatedly emphasized that Germany must become “fit for war” in order to be able to act as a credible deterrent.

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