THE ARMY GENERAL in charge of bringing back national service in France said Thursday he would try to make it appealing for youngsters amid signs of resistance to a pet project of President Emmanuel Macron.

After months of consultations the government unveiled Wednesday the ''universal national service''  promised by Macron while campaigning for the presidency last year.

Contrary to his initial proposal it will not be an initiation to military life but a civic service for boys and girls aged around 16  that aims to foster patriotism and a culture of volunteering.

Despite being watered down since it was first floated, 15 youth/student organizations have opposed the service, saying young people/students should be free to choose how they contribute to the greater good and not be press-ganged into service.

Acknowledge their objections, General Daniel Menaouine, appointed by Macron to head the  project  taskforce, told Europe 1 Radio on Thursday : "My challenge is not the obligatory nature but its appeal.

''Young people must want to come."


France's last conscripts were demobilised in 2001, ending nearly a century of military service which saw millions of men put through their faces.

While some look back fondly on their stint in the army, saying it helped create a sense of fraternity, there was widespread relief when former president Jacques Chirac scrapped it.

The new two-part service, which will be written into the constitution, will be rolled out over seven years starting with a trial phase in 2019.

Around 750,000 youngsters will take part each year, creating a huge logistical challenge for the state.

An initial two-week "integration phase" will take place during the school holidays  and be conducted in state-run summer camps and boarding schools across the country, where youngsters will be taught first aid, orienteering and other basic skills.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!