FDP leader Christian Lindner has rejected any discussion about a return to conscription. “For the FDP, conscription is not at all up for debate. This is a ghost discussion. All power must be concentrated on strengthening the Bundeswehr as a highly professional army,” said Lindner of the German Press Agency. The young generation also “lost so much through the pandemic that there should be no speculation about a new compulsory service”. Lindner also referred to the shortage of skilled workers in all areas. He said: “Keeping an entire class away from education and work would cause great harm.”
The FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann had previously pointed out the far-reaching consequences for the economy and society in the event of a return to military service. The public discussion about this question is “partially not serious,” said the chair of the Defense Committee. The worsening of the shortage of skilled workers is just one point. “Basically, the end of compulsory military service only applies in times of peace. In the event of tension or defense, it can be activated again,” she said Süddeutsche Zeitung said. A year ago she was strictly against it. Strack-Zimmermann now finds: “A simple yes or no is not enough.” She referred to the considerable effort that would be necessary when returning to military service.
Last week, the new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) described the suspension of conscription by the black-yellow federal government in 2011 as a mistake. The left criticized the discussions about conscription. “Not a day goes by when there isn’t some representative of the SPD, FDP, Greens or Union who comes around the corner with a new escalation proposal: tank deliveries, fighter jets, now the reintroduction of conscription,” said the first parliamentary manager of the left Group, Jan Korte. Suspending conscription was not a mistake, but a civilizational advance.
Meanwhile, the reservists’ association spoke out in favor of reintroducing compulsory military service. “The Federal Republic of Germany cannot be defended if we have to, if we don’t have conscription,” said association president Patrick Sensburg to the TV station Welt. Around 200,000 soldiers and 100,000 reservists were not enough for an emergency.