Advert

​France To Bring Back National Service For All 16-Year-Olds

Published 
| Last updated 

​France To Bring Back National Service For All 16-Year-Olds

French president Emmanuel Macron has decided to reintroduce compulsory national service in France, meaning all 16-year-olds will be made to serve for at least one month.

Loading…

The national service for French girls and boys comes in two parts, with an additional voluntary option available after conscripts' required month is up.

The initial, mandatory period will see a focus on civic culture - which the government says will 'enable young people to create new relationships and develop their role in society'.

Advert

Among people's options for civic work, there's voluntary teaching and working with charities, along with more traditional military preparation with the police, fire service or army.

People then have the option for a second phase, and extend the placement by up to a year.

For this, they will be encouraged to serve in an area 'linked to defence and security', but people can still carry out volunteer work that's linked to heritage, the environment or social care.

Compulsory military service was scrapped in France in 1996 - back when Macron was 18, making him the first French president not to have carried it out.

Advert
Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The new progamme is estimated to cost €1.6bn (£1.4bn; $1.8bn) a year to run, with an initial government investment of €1.75bn, the BBC reports.

It's a slightly watered-down version of the reinstated compulsory national service that Macron originally had in mind. In his 2017 campaign he explained that he wanted French citizens to experience a 'direct experience of military life' for at least one month between the ages of 18 to 21.

So far, the reception to Macron's plans has been mixed, with some students' groups coming forward to say that they are against the idea.

Advert

But overall, around 60 percent of the population are in favour, according to a YouGov poll carried out in March. That number does, however, dip to just below half when looking at the response from younger people.

According to the BBC, 14 youth organisations were against the programme even before it was announced. They said that they should have freedom of choice, with the argument of 'Choosing a commitment is just as important as the commitment itself, if not more so'.

Many other countries still have national military service - North Korea is the country with the longest, making men serve 11 years and women serve seven.

Advert

Israel's compulsory military service, meanwhile, is three years for men and two for women, while Switzerland, Austria and Greece are among some of the European countries that still have it in place.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, News, France

Jess Hardiman
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

News

Ghislaine Maxwell's Lawyers Have Filed For A Retrial

15 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

News

Doctor Reveals Stinky Farts Can Make You Go Blind

a day ago