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Estonia wishes to increase number of people called to conscript service

TALLINN - Approximately a third of the young men of the year pass conscript service in Estonia and the Ministry of Defense is planning to increase the number of youth in conscript service to 4,000, Defense Minister Juri Luik said.

When responding to an interpellation at the parliament, Luik said that while a general conscript service obligation is in effect in Estonia, only approximately a third of the young men of a particular year goes through conscript service in reality. The minister said that such a situation is not sustainable. "A general obligation must be general, otherwise the question arises why we have a national obligation at all if only some citizens are subjected to it," Luik said.

Luik said that the ministry will soon file a number of legal act for the handling of the parliament in order to increase the number of youth going through conscript service. Thus the ministry is planning to increase the number of young people entering conscript service from the current 3,200 to 4,000 youth. "We have also added a number of measures in this law package to make avoiding conscript service stricter or harder to do," Luik said.

The minister added that the Defense Ministry is planning to change the health requirements of the defense forces so that disabled people could also work at the defense forces if they are interested or wish to do so.

Luik said that there are a number of jobs in the defense forces where a very strong physical preparation is not necessary. "It is especially important considering the circumstance that a very large number of our veterans who actually have high military training, could find work in that situation namely in the defense forces," the minister said.

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