Croatia may reintroduce military conscription, citing Ukraine and potential war in Balkans

By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Sixteen years after ending compulsory military service, Croatia is now looking at the possibility of reintroducing it in light of continued global military threats.

The Croatian government has asked Defense Minister Ivan Anusic to look into the possibility of reintroducing conscription, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced on Monday after a meeting of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) governing party’s executive board.

“We need to act responsibly and not hibernate when there are crisis niches everywhere,” Plenkovic stressed.

“We need to lift our heads and look at the world around Croatia,” he added, referring to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the fact that recent tensions in Kosovo have almost led to war.

“And if we think of the threat posed by illegal migration and terrorism, we can also see that the HDZ is hiding one word, and that is security,” he pointed out.

The defense minister told the press after the weekend’s military academy ceremony that three proposals on the length of compulsory military service would be presented soon, according to Hungarian publication Magyar Hirlap. These would be sent to the prime minister and the president for their comments, and then further discussed with the prime minister on the form and timing of the introduction of conscription.

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“Only after a political decision has been taken will the plans be made public,” the defense minister added.

This is part of a larger European trend that emerged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last August, Lithuania announced its plan to extend the military draft, as did Denmark, and there have been calls from politicians both in the U.K. and Germany to reintroduce compulsory military service.

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