Military favours ending conscription

The Swedish military has lent its voice to the choir of those in favour of abolishing the current system of conscription.

Military favours ending conscription

In a study released on Friday, the military recommended that troops should be made up entirely of volunteers.

“The Armed Forces propose that soldiers and marines be employed for service in military units. Employment is to be preceded by basic training to which applicants will apply voluntarily,” the military said in a statement.

The study constitutes the military’s recommendations for the development of the Armed Forces over the next 20 years.

The proposals involve removing mandatory conscription during peace time, but with an option to reinstate the law in times of emergency.

The military will accept 4,500 people on an annual basis, who in effect will be treated as professional soldiers for the duration of their contract. The system is similar to that already in place in other countries such as France and the UK.

Earlier this month, the government announced the creation of a parliamentary committee to decide on how conscription can be abolished.

The committee will complete its work by February 2009, with the changes in the law due to take effect in 2010.

In the current system, 8,000 people out of an annual cohort of 120,000 Swedish citizens are called in to carry out military service. A number of people are still jailed every year for refusing to carry out compulsory military service.

In Friday’s study, the Armed Forces echoed the sentiments of Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors, who two weeks ago said that “the current system must be replaced by recruitment based on the voluntary principle.”