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Croatia plans military education in high schools

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Croatia plans to introduce mandatory one-month military education courses in secondary schools amid what seems to be a growing appetite in the newest EU member for reinstating conscription, which was abolished in 2008 after the country joined NATO, according to Euractiv.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković confirmed that a military course would be in the works soon.

“With security threats around the world, it is not bad for the defence ministry to take what we are already doing with those volunteering for military service a step forward and draft shorter courses so that a bigger number of people could become familiar with the basic skills that the younger generations lack,” he said this week. “We have given Anušić the mandate to draft the concept.”

The Jutarnji List daily reported on Wednesday that Defence Minister Ivan Anušić had been tasked with drafting a one-month course for teenagers, where they would learn first aid, weapons handling, and nuclear and chemical protection.

A survey by the Vecernji List daily on Wednesday asked if citizens were in favour of re-introducing compulsory military service, more than 70% (or around 8,200 respondents out of a total of 11,300) replied positively.

This seems to be in line with trends across Europe, where conscription is gradually being considered again, particularly in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In the EU, Lithuania became a frontrunner by introducing male conscription in 2015, seven years after it was abolished. The next was Latvia, which passed a law last April calling for the mandatory reintroduction of military conscription.

In December, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said the EU could be facing “dangers” from Russia by the end of this decade and that it was time for European countries to adapt to the changed geopolitical landscape.