Chief of Staff Belgian army pleads for reintroduction of conscription

If it were up to Admiral Michel Hofman, the reintroduction of conscription would be worth considering. The Belgian army chief of staff said this in an interview with RTBF, in response to the current situation, in which Europe is threatened by Russia.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the end of the Cold War and the abolition of Belgian conscription in 1992, the number of professional soldiers in Belgium has fallen from 60,000 to 25,000, which also led to the closure of several army barracks. According to Hofman, however, the current situation in Ukraine offers food for thought regarding the state of the Belgian army today.

"We need to reflect on the situation. We can reconsider the arguments that led to the abolition and then ask ourselves whether we can reintroduce conscription. The need may arise to defend NATO or European territory, which would justify conscription. That would be logical," Hofman said.

He adds, however, that a reintroduction is not possible overnight. "It could not be done tomorrow, but it could be done in the next few years. Budgets, equipment and men are needed to train conscripts."

Reacting to Hofman, the defence staff informed that the debate on a possible reintroduction of military service is 'not present within defence', due to a lack of budget, infrastructure, material and equipment.


© BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT - The Belgian army detachment in Cincu, Romania holds an exercise on Tuesday 07 June 2022.


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