Government backs compulsory service plan in Latvia

The government coalition on Wednesday supported the Defense Ministry's proposal to introduce a compulsory defense service, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) said after the weekly coalition meeting, LETA reported July 14.

There are still many unanswered questions about the service, and the Defense Ministry will continue to work on the idea, the prime minister said. There would need to be a public consultation on many issues.

The compulsory national defense service will be introduced within five years. Starting January 1, 2023, the transition period will be started with voluntary recruitment. Recruiting will take place twice a year ,on January 1 and July 1. Also, recruits will be able to choose among four kinds of service, including alternative services in the Interior, Health, or Welfare Ministry structures.

The Defense Ministry's goal is to increase the NBS to 50,000 people in five years. It would include 14,000 troops in active service, 16,000 people in the National Guard, and 20,000 in reserve.

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