Finland: wave of resignations by army reservists

There is also a debate about military service in Finland: in an interview last week, Finnish Defence Minister Antti Häkkänen stated that a way must be found to prevent reservists from leaving the army. However, his statement backfired as there was a sharp increase in resignations shortly afterwards. The national press suggests other measures.

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Etelä-Saimaa (FI) /

Force is not the right approach

Pressure will achieve little, notes Etelä-Saimaa:

“The announcement was surprising at a time when the will to boost national defences is greater than ever and the armed forces have worked hard to promote voluntary national defence policies and make military service more attractive to young people [in Finland, military service or civilian service currently only applies to men]. ... Given the changing global political situation, it is understandable that Finland wants to maintain its national defence capabilities at the best possible level. Coercion and the whip are, however, not the right approach with the younger generation. Patriotism and the will to defend one's country must and can be strengthened in other ways.”

Keskisuomalainen (FI) /

Case by case treatment for reservists

Keskisuomalainen proposes several measures:

“The armed forces want there to be obstacles to military reservists leaving the reserve, because their doing so could weaken the country's defence capabilities. ... The problem should not be solved by a general ban on leaving the reserve. It should be agreed with those who are selected for specialised posts that it is not possible to resign from these functions, not even from the reserve. ... Gender-neutral conscription is necessary in view of the declining numbers in the age groups and also in the interest of equality.”