Serbia to propose return of mandatory military service News
Staff Sgt. Donna Davis, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Serbia to propose return of mandatory military service

The Serbian Ministry of Defence announced Thursday the launch of an initiative to bring back mandatory military service in Serbia. Serbia had mandatory military service for male citizens until 2010. The mandatory military service requirement applied to men. The length of service varied, but it was typically around six months.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Serbia Miloš Vučević announced the launch of the official initiative to restore mandatory military service after 13 years. The decision is yet to be discussed, but the aim is to have a shorter service period of up to four months. Vučević highlighted the importance of preparing infrastructure projects, barracks and recruitment centers for the potential reintroduction of conscription. He emphasized that despite modern life circumstances, a shorter service period could produce well-trained soldiers, contributing to a safer and more secure country.

The move is not seen as preparation for conflicts, as professional troops responsible for principal activities will remain. The minister proposed periodic training for those completing basic training to maintain skills and familiarize themselves with modern weapons and equipment. Vučević cited examples of other countries discussing or implementing mandatory military service, stating that a stronger military ensures a stronger and safer peace. He emphasized that a robust Serbian Armed Forces is essential for the country’s peace, freedom and development.

The announcement comes amid heightening tensions in the Balkan region, especially between Kosovo and Serbia. Earlier in November, NATO foreign ministers convened in Brussels to address concerns over escalating tensions between the two neighboring countries. The discussions, which took place amid fears that a recent terrorist attack in the region could be linked to Russian efforts to divert attention from its actions in Ukraine, centered on the potential increase of military presence in the Western Balkans.

During the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated the alliance’s commitment to ensuring stability in the region, indicating a consideration of a long-term presence increase. The broader diplomatic efforts aim to expedite the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, with calls for specific actions from both sides. While discussions explored the possibility of enhanced military presence, the primary focus remained on fostering cooperation between the two nations and achieving a lasting resolution through dialogue, with an emphasis on avoiding violence.