Serbia is considering reintroducing conscription, according to President Aleksandar Vucic. Vucic said the armed forces commanders had presented him with convincing arguments for such a move. He referred to tensions in the Balkans and other parts of Europe. Recruiting in Serbia stopped in 2011.
The president did not comment on when conscription would be reintroduced. He simply said that such service would last for at least 100 days. Parliament will vote on the proposal after a long campaign by nationalists. Vucic's allies have a majority in parliament. Serbia does not threaten anyone, he said after meeting commanders while visiting an exhibition of military equipment. “If you don't have an army today, you don't have a country.”
Opposition politicians and other critics of conscription have expressed skepticism about the logic of the military buildup. Serbia is surrounded by NATO member states during a conflict, they said. In addition, a large army would incur considerably higher costs.
Tensions are high in the Balkans, marked by the bloody disintegration of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Although the Serbian military is formally neutral, it maintains close ties to Russia, from which it receives most of its weapons, including fighter jets and tanks. Serbia is officially seeking EU membership, but has refused to impose sanctions on Russia over its aggression in Ukraine.
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