A scaled-down version of Emmanuel Macron’s plan to restore compulsory national service will be tested next year, but military involvement will be minimal after army chiefs dismissed the scheme as an extravagant “folly”. The top brass feared the original plan for young people to serve in the armed forces for one month would offer little benefit while eating into the already stretched defence budget. They were also concerned that officers would be distracted from operational missions such as protecting France from terrorists and fighting Islamists in Africa. Mr Macron first mooted the idea in an apparent attempt to woo Right-wing voters during last year’s election campaign, when security was a major concern after a string of terror attacks. But he has now shifted the focus to community rather than military service. Generals have welcomed the decision to transfer oversight of the project from the defence ministry to the education ministry. Military involvement will be minimal and it will have little impact on the defence budget. France abolished military service under a conservative president, Jacques Chirac, in 1997, but some 3,000 teenagers will take part in the month-long trial during the school holidays next year. They will live together for two… Read full this story
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