President Emmanuel Macron plans to reinstate national military service by the start of next year.
Called the universal national service, the service program will require every French citizen to participate when he or she turns 16 years old.
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The French are none too happy, with many calling the proposal a useless waste of money and a move that stinks of propaganda.
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Macron is the first French president who has never served himself. He was never called up as he came of age after compulsory service was phased out after 1996
RT reports: Macron has attempted to justify the proposal, saying that national service would promote patriotism and “social cohesion” among France’s youth. The plan, which has undergone a number of changes, will now see both boys and girls that have reached the age of 16 serve in the program divided into a voluntary and compulsory stage.
They’ll have to do a minimum one-month placement that could involve teaching, working with charities, and traditional military training with the police, fire service or army. The details of the scheme have not yet been finalized, sparking some confusion on what exactly will be compulsory, the exact length and the actual composition of the service.
While the Armed Forces Minister claims that the program would probably not be mandatory, a government spokesman described the service as “universal” and “obligatory”. Even before the plan was announced, at least 14 youth organizations objected to its ‘inconsistencies’ and said young people should be able to choose what they do on their own.
The cost of the program is estimated to be about €1.6 billion ($1.9bn) a year.