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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

EU state may introduce compulsory military service for women

Danish minister of defense insists the move is necessary to enable the country to protect itself from Russia

Women should be available for conscription into the Danish Armed Forces, Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen insisted on Wednesday, arguing that the current state of the country’s military does not allow it to properly defend itself.

In an interview with TV2, the official stated that Denmark can no longer afford to rely only on volunteers and insisted that everyone, including women, should be eligible for compulsory military service and that the size of the Danish army should be increased.

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The minister stated that Denmark, as well as its neighbors and allies, face a common enemy in the face of Russia, which he claims will wage war on Europe if it is allowed to succeed in Ukraine. Moscow “must lose,” Ellemann-Jensen stated.

Denmark’s current laws permit the Armed Forces to forcefully conscript all physically fit men over the age of 18, with service typically lasting between four and 12 months. Women, on the other hand, are allowed to voluntarily participate, but are not legally obliged to do so.

However, due to the large number of volunteers, who typically represent more than 96% of the country’s active servicemen, the number of conscripts actually serving in the army remains relatively low and accounts for less than one percent of the Danish Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, women account for 17% of all personnel in the Danish military. Ellemann-Jensen says he believes there should be more of them and stated that “the armed forces would benefit from more women,” noting that the move would also allow the country to meet its NATO membership obligations.

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The minister’s announcement comes after his office published the findings of a biennial NATO report, which criticizes Copenhagen for failing to invest enough in its military. However the review was conducted before Denmark announced last month that it plans to boost its defense spending by $660 million in order to reach NATO’s target contribution of 2% of GDP. The Danish government even scrapped a public religious holiday in order to achieve that goal by 2030 – three years ahead of schedule.