Macron's compulsory national service | Euronews Answers

Macron's compulsory national service | Euronews Answers
Copyright REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
Copyright REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
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Macron wants to bring compulsory national service back for boys and girls. But what does the programme actually entail? Euronews gives you the answers.


French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to reinstate military service during his election campaign to promote a sense of civic duty among French youth. But instead, a watered down version of the original plan will likely be instated. Here's a breakdown of the proposed national service programme.

Who is it aimed at?

The compulsory national service will be for 16-year-olds.

What does it involve?

The government will trial a soft version of Macron’s original idea called the Service National Universel (Universal National Service) in 2019.

The project aims to “increase the youth engagement in the life of the Nation, value citizenship and the sense of belonging to a community, strengthen social cohesion, and energise the Republican melting pot,” said the government.

The tweet reads: "Allowing engagement is regaining the sense of makes our Nation, Republican melting pot."

Both girls and boys will have to participate in mandatory one-month placements with a focus on civic culture, which can include military service or not.

They’ll be free to choose a second placement, which runs from three months up to a year, in a defence or security area or do volunteer work linked to heritage, the environment, or social care.

What are the public's reactions to the proposed plan?

People in France have mixed feelings about the plan. One criticism is that the programme would cost too much money to the government and overburden the military — already stretched by the anti-terrorism operations at home and abroad.

Some young people also claimed they should be free to choose if they want to participate or not.

Consultations with the public about the plan will take place in the autumn.

Who in the EU has compulsory military service?

  • Scandinavia

  • Switzerland

  • Austria

  • Greece

  • Cyprus (Greek side)

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