Most men sign up for a selective service

This is how compulsory service is regulated abroad

A report commissioned by the Federal Council is re-fueling the discussion about the Swiss compulsory service system. There are numerous models abroad. Not all of them are good role models.

How should things go on with Swiss compulsory service? A study group of the Federal Council presented its report with suggestions for improvement last week. Among other things, he is considering introducing compulsory military service for women. With this in mind, it is worth taking a look beyond national borders - a selection of interesting models.

• Austria: General conscription

In Central Europe, apart from Switzerland, only Austria still adheres to compulsory military service: In a referendum in January 2013, almost 60 percent of Austrians voted in favor of remaining with the militia system. For male citizens, the military presence service begins with the "position" (draft) at the age of 17 and only ends with the "disarming" at the age of 50. Conscripts can be drafted for basic military service up to their 34th birthday. This lasts six months; A nine-month community service or a one-year service abroad is permitted as a substitute. Under certain family and / or economic circumstances, conscripts can apply for exemption from basic military service.

• Germany: voluntary military service

Since the end of the Cold War, however, most states in Europe have suspended compulsory service or completely abolished it, following the example of the USA, Great Britain and Australia. This is also the case in Germany: since 2011, conscripts have no longer been called up. Conscription remains in the Basic Law, but only takes effect when necessary. Volunteers have the opportunity to serve in the Bundeswehr for up to 23 months. Military service is open to all suitable German women and men aged 17 and over who have completed their compulsory full-time schooling. Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain have also suspended conscription.

• Italy: conscription as a requirement for civil service

Italy suspended the last ten months of compulsory military service and alternative civilian service for men in 2005. At the same time, a voluntary one-year armed service was introduced, which is open to women and men between the ages of 18 and 25 and which is met with great interest. Voluntary military service is a prerequisite for further engagement in the army and admission to the ranks of the Carabinieri, the police and the professional fire brigade. The “National Office for Civilian Service” also offers voluntary alternative service in the areas of social assistance, disaster control, environmental protection and education.

• Norway: Gender-neutral conscription

The Norwegian model is the one that the working group set up by the Federal Council regards as particularly interesting. In October 2014, the parliament in Oslo decided to introduce gender-neutral conscription. At the beginning of August 2016, women who are required to serve will also move into the barracks for the first time. This makes the Scandinavian country the only NATO country that obliges women to do military service. Since 2015, 19- to 44-year-olds can be drafted for military service, with basic military service lasting twelve months. In Norway, only a small part of the population is recruited with 8,000 out of 60,000 conscripts. With the introduction of gender-neutral conscription, the state does not want to enlarge the defense apparatus, but rather to enlarge the pool of qualified workers and increase the percentage of women. Similar to Italy, Norway works with an incentive system: Those who do military service have better chances of finding a job in the administration, the police or the coast guard.

• Israel: selective military service for men and women

Israel is one of the few states that actually calls up practically all conscripts. The general compulsory service from the age of 18 applies to both men and women. Women have to serve in the armed forces for at least two years, men are obliged to serve in the military for three years. Israeli Arabs (Muslims and Christians, but not Druze) and all non-Jewish, pregnant or married women are exempt from military service. So far, only women have been allowed to refuse military service for reasons of conscience and to do alternative service.

• Turkey: Patriotic service with free purchase option

In Turkey, all male citizens between the ages of 21 and 41 are required to do military service. Regular military service lasts twelve months. There is no alternative service and refusal to do military service for reasons of conscience or religion is not permitted. However, since January 1, 2015, the Turks have been able to buy their way out of military service: from the age of 27, conscripts can pay a replacement payment of 18,000 lira (approx. 6,000 francs) and complete several weeks of basic training instead of the one-year service. Turkish citizens who have been abroad for more than three years can avoid completing their military service with a foreign exchange payment of 1,000 euros (up to 2016 it was 6,000 euros). You can also avoid the 21-day basic training in this way.

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