Sweden reintroduces military service

As of July the Swedish government will reintroduce compulsory military service, which had been abolished in 2010. The government justified the step pointing to heightened security risks in the Baltic and the lack of volunteers. All men and women born in or after 1999 must be available, and 4,000 of them will have to do military service each year. Some commentators approve of the move while others cast doubts on its effectiveness.

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Aftonbladet (SE) /

We must all defend freedom

Sweden is absolutely right to reintroduce compulsory military service, Aftonbladet is convinced:

“There are many practical reasons why compulsory service is better than a defence based on volunteers. Sweden is a small country that does not belong to a military alliance. What's more, the number of soldiers in the army was too low due to a lack of volunteers. The most important arguments, however, are about principles. Rights and obligations go hand in hand. We are one of the freest and richest countries in the world. Our free society and our way of life are worth defending. And this responsibility falls to each and every one of us.”

Kainuun Sanomat (FI) /

Not a measure that increases security

The return to compulsory military service is more a symbolic gesture than an act of true relevance for the military, Kainuun Sanomat concludes:

“The reintroduction of compulsory military service is in keeping with the change of direction in Sweden's defence policy. … Russia's power politics have led to a series of reactions in Western Europe. … The first reaction was the stationing last summer of a small task force on the island of Gotland, a significant move for the surveillance of sea traffic in the Baltic. A combat unit is to be permanently stationed on the island from the summer on. The soldiers' return to Gotland and the introduction of compulsory military service are nonetheless simply signs of a change of approach rather than effective measures. More important is that Sweden, along with Finland, has strengthened its military cooperation with Nato and the US.”