• France's news in English
Calls for France to bring back military service
Should France bring back national military service? Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Calls for France to bring back military service

Oliver Gee · 19 Jan 2015, 16:02

Published: 19 Jan 2015 16:02 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
France phased out compulsory military service under former president Jacques Chirac in 1997 after finding it had no trouble in recruiting professional soldiers.
But after 17 people were killed in Paris over a three-day period earlier this month, Xavier Bertrand from the right-wing opposition UMP party is one of a number of politicians to have called for the service to be reintroduced.
"I propose a compulsory period of at least three months for the boys and the girls, which would offer them a sense of belonging - and which would nullify any of their political, religious, and social affiliations," he told the Le Parisien newspaper. 
Several left wing politicians say they would rather see France's voluntary civic service - where young people are assigned to projects in the community - bolstered instead. 

Xavier Bertrand of the UMP party. Photo: AFP
But unlike France's civic service, which boasts just 35,000 young workers, Bertrand said that a military service would bring in 600,000 young people each year who all "have something to give to their country".
And with a three-month service, compared to the old system of ten months, Bertrand said that the project would be far less costly than the previous service's €1.5 billion price tag.
He added that not only was the idea "totally possible", but "essential for the republic".
Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front has also shown support for bringing back national service, calling for a six-month compulsory stint for French youths. 
"National service has been sorely lacking from this country and there's been nothing to replace it," she said at a press conference last week.
Story continues below…
Others have argued that it would be simply too costly to get off the ground. 
Former Defence Minister Hervé Morin told the RTL newspaper that the idea could never work due to a lack of space and money.
"How could we incorporate 900,000 young people each year?" he said. "It's honestly impossible."
Morin, incidentally, added that he was "one of the few" people who disagreed with the abolishing of the service almost 20 years ago.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available