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Number of conscripts per year to increase to 4,000 – months after a bill to expand female involvement in military service was signed into law.6 December 2017
Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik has told parliament of plans to increase the number of youths conscripted annually into compulsory military service from 3,200 to 4,000, reports The Baltic Times.
Although a general conscription service exists in Estonia, Luik said that only about one-third of eligible young men each year take part, and the “question arises why we have a national obligation at all if only some citizens are subjected to it.”
The minister added that the Defense Ministry is planning to change the health requirements of the defense forces so that disabled people could also work in the field if they wish to do so.
If the plans become law, it will be the latest in a series of decisions by Estonia to expand the recruitment pool and increase the participation of a greater number of citizens in the country’s defense.
In September, a bill to extend the access of women to all units of the Estonian Defense Forces was signed into law, reports ERR News, the news service of the Estonian public broadcaster.
Women have been able to participate in the national military conscription service since 2013. Signing up is voluntary but once conscripted they become subject to the national defense obligation, writes the Estonian government portal.
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