The German draft debate and Hungary

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The name Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer may not exactly roll of the tongue, but we definitely should pay attention to her as she may well become German Chancellor one day, according to Magyar Idők.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister President of Germany’s Saarland region from 2011-2018 currently serves as General Secretary of the CDU and is widely considered to be Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right hand.

After a tour of Germany – and, more importantly, the CDU electoral base – she returned to Berlin with one poignant conclusion. There is widespread demand among the electorate that Germany should re-introduce compulsory military service – discontinued during the Merkel legislation in July 2011.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

CDU Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

The legal situation is a bit more complicated, as conscription was not exactly abolished but rather suspended, leaving some provisions in the German constitution that would legalize its reintroduction.

Opinion polls show that 56 percent of Germans are for conscription and one of the most vocal supporters of it is Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) who propose a one-year compulsory service. So there is an argument that the CDU should get ahead of the issue and in the process grab some voters from its strongest opponent.

The German administration and opposition Greens and Liberals are firmly against it, but with the government’s popularity at only 29 percent, a further drop may well persuade them to change tack.

Another argument for conscription is the chronic manpower shortage of the Bundeswehr. Indeed, there have been ideas to attract servicemen from abroad. The strongest counter-argument is that nobody should be forced to do something against their will.

But we should not forget another pro-conscription argument: in a fractured and individualistic society with many parallel societies, it could forge national unity.

We, Hungarians also don’t have conscription, but we also have a social debate about it. An entire generation has grown up without any weapons training. Some say that should there be a need to defend the country, the professionals would do it.

But by the same token, we should also abolish first aid training. Or should we?



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