There is no money provided for conscription in 2016-2018 budget projections.
The announcement about possible reintroduction of compulsory military service, which was mentioned during the week by some members of the ruling coalition, has stirred great interest among the public, reports Index.hr on February 28, 2016.
This is not the first time that HDZ representatives talk about the reintroduction of compulsory military service. During her presidential election campaign, President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović supported the reintroduction of compulsory military service, and repeated her position once more in March 2015, when the idea was supported by HDZ president and current First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko as well.
The president this week confirmed she still stands by her campaign promise. “I think that compulsory military service, much shorter than it used to be, between one and three months, would not be a bad solution. Especially for students and those leaving high school and those who cannot find work. It seems to me that it would provide an additional education that you can use in the event of natural disasters, accidents, so you can help people. And, as you can see, threats are getting more complex. Terrorism does not choose its targets. I do not want to scare anyone, but the fact is that we must always be prepared for any situation, that we must know how to react to potentially prevent it, and provide help in case of such an event happening. My idea was that it should be done in a more modern way and that people should get a certain compensation for it”, said the president.
Compulsory military service was abolished in 2007 when HDZ was in power. In late 2014, the Parliament adopted a long-term plan for the development of the Croatian Armed Forces for the 2015-2024 period, and it does not provide for the reintroduction of compulsory military service. That plan was adopted by Parliament unanimously.
However, perhaps the best evidence that the reintroduction will not take place are the budget guidelines for 2016 which show that the Defence Ministry should receive about half a billion kuna less than was earmarked for this year by the previous government. The projected budget for the Defence Ministry provides 3.813 billion kuna. By comparison, in 2015 the budget for the Defence Ministry was about 4.082 billion kuna.
The fact that current government, at least the part of it which prepares the budget, has no plans to reintroduce compulsory military service is also demonstrated by budget projections for the next two years. In 2017, the ministry should receive 3.844 billion kuna, and in 2018 the defence budget should reach just 3.990 billion kuna.