Afghan Voice Agency (AVA): "Every Frenchman is a soldier whose life depends on the defense of the homeland." This phrase is a clause of the French "Jourdan" law of 1798 AD, which is known as one of the first written military service laws in the world.
Almost two centuries later, French President Jacques Chirac replaced the Day of Public Mobilization with the Day of Defense and Citizenship, a day to introduce young people to the values of the French Republic.
The end of military service in 1997 was not well received by the majority of French people. For some, it was considered an insult to the country's history, and for others, it was an acknowledgment of the end of France's importance and interest in international relations.
But France was not alone in abolishing conscription, and soon other countries adopted the same policy, and as the end of the last century approached, military service breathed its last in all parts of Europe.
Politicians wanted professional armed forces. With no conflict for nearly half a century, minus the Western Balkans War, the originality of large armies of hundreds of thousands of reservists was not only an obsolete strategy, but also costly.
Britain had ended conscription much earlier in 1963. Belgium adopted the same policy in 1992, and between 2004 and 2011, many other European countries adopted such a new military policy, i.e. non-compulsory military service.
Meanwhile, in Europe, only Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Cyprus, Austria and Switzerland maintained the military service program among their military policies. But these countries also eased some laws related to military service. For example, Austria reduced the duration of military service to six months in 2006.
When Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014, the first whispers of a return to military service were heard in some European countries, and Kiev resumed conscription for military service this year, a decision that led to the country's participation in the war. Recently, with Russia, it will benefit from a large number of trained military forces and reserve forces.
Lithuania resumed military service in 2015 after a seven-year hiatus, and Norway became the only country to make military service compulsory for women in 2017.
Two years later, Sweden submitted a draft for the resumption of military service to the country's parliament, and in the same year, 2019, France implemented the training of the first group of conscripted soldiers.
Before the start of the war in Ukraine last January (Aquarius), the Ministry of Defense of Lithuania put a series of new studies on military service on its agenda, studies that will face revisions considering the dimensions of the war in Ukraine.
Latvia is also the first country that has taken a serious action in this field. In early July this year, the Ministry of Defense announced that men between the ages of 18 and 27 must complete 11 months of military service. It is believed that this bill, which must be approved by the parliament of this country, will be implemented early next year.
In this context, the Minister of Defense of Latvia said: "Latvian people should be aware of the importance that a significant population of the country's population should receive the necessary military training in order to improve the defense capability and possible countermeasures and prevent Russian aggression."
Other countries may also adopt the same policy. In April, news was published about the start of studies related to military service by the Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands, studies in the form of the military model of the Scandinavian countries.
Currently, a quarter of the military job posts in the Netherlands are vacant. Poland has also put a paid voluntary military model on its agenda since March.
The Ministry of Defense of Romania, which canceled the possibility of resuming military service a few years ago, this month presented a draft to the parliament of this country, which, if approved, obliges citizens living abroad within 15 In the event of an emergency or war, they return to their homeland to join the military forces and defend the country.
Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal, however, rejected the possibility of resuming compulsory military service in this country. Also, in Spain, Belgium and Italy, no discussion has been raised in this regard.
In a survey conducted by a Belgian institute, sixty percent of the participants in the survey said that they are not interested in taking up arms and defending the country.
Also, German politicians want the return of military service. This is despite the fact that military service has been stopped in this country since 2011.
These developments occur while, on the one hand, some military experts want the return of military service, but on the other hand, another group believes that the soldiers under the flag who spend the mandatory service are not necessarily able to use the advanced technology used in modern weapons.
Apart from national pride and patriotic unity in countries like France, military service can be a solution for the unemployed youth population.
Between 1999 and 2021, the defense budget of European countries has increased by only 20%, while the US defense budget has increased by 66%, Russia by 292%, and China by 592% during the same period.
All in all, armies are facing shortage of forces in all parts of Europe. For example, according to official statistics, the Dutch army has 9,000 job vacancies.
Most of the new approaches of European countries to the category of military service are based on voluntary call-up rather than mandatory service, and the general issue of mandatory or voluntary military service in many European countries is the main issue in political and military discussions centered on military service.
In Sweden and Norway, only a small number of conscripts are accepted for military service, which requires passing an exam and selection. Most European countries are following the same Scandinavian model.