RIGA, Sept 12 (LETA) - The Latvian parliament committee on defense, interior affairs and corruption prevention today rejected the proposal by MP Edvins Snore (National Alliance) for reinstatement of the compulsory military service.Although the Defense Ministry on several previous occassions had explained why Latvia should not return to conscription, Snore submitted a proposal for adding to the Law on the Military Service a whole new chapter on the compulsory military service. Under Snore's proposal, all male Latvian citizens aged 18-27 years should be subject to the compulsory military service. If not enough men volunteered for the military service in any given year, the shortage would be made up by means of compulsory conscription. Female Latvian citizens would also be able to volunteer for the military service. Snore proposed that the compulsory military service could last 6-9 months, and during this period conscripts would receive a financial compensation, which would be larger in case of those, who had volunteered to join the army. Snore said at the committee meeting today that the geopolitiacl situation had changed and Latvia was short of servicemen. Moreover, a number of countries in North Europe and Eastern Europe used compulsory military service in one form or other. Latvian Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis said he understood the lawmaker's concerns about the new security situation in Europe after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. But Bergmanis repeated the defense sector's arguments against the return to conscription, saying that it woud require millions of euros and undermine the existing Home Guard and the professional Latvian army. He said that anyone willing to serve one's country had the options of joining the Home Guard or the professional military service. The army would not be able to teach patriotism to the 18-year-olds, who had not been taught it at the school or by their parents, the defense minister said. The committee rejected Snore's proposal almost unanimously, as Snore was the only committee member who voted in favor of his proposal.
Published: 12.09.2017 15:50