June 13, 2024 1:55 pm

Denmark to start conscripting women for military service

Denmark has announced plans to extend military conscription to women for the first time and increase the standard service time.

It also wants to boost its defence budget by nearly $6bn (£4.6bn) in the next five years to meet Nato targets.

“We do not rearm because we want war. We are rearming because we want to avoid it,” said PM Metter Frederiksen.

Tensions in Europe have spiked since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Unveiling the reforms on Wednesday, Ms Frederiksen said the government was seeking to achieve “full equality between the sexes”.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said: “More robust conscription, including full gender equality, must contribute to solving defence challenges, national mobilisation and manning our armed forces.”

Women in the Scandinavian country can already volunteer for military service.

Now the government plans to introduce female conscription from 2026, making it only the third European nation – alongside Norway and Sweden – to require women to serve in the armed forces.

It also says the conscription service will be extended from four to 11 months for both men and women.

Last year, 4,700 people served military service, of which about 25% were women. This number will be increased to 5,000 per year.

Denmark’s armed forces currently number about 20,000 active personnel, including some 9,000 professional troops.

The country, which has a total population of nearly six million, is also raising its military spending from the current 1.4% of GDP to 2% to meet targets set by the Nato military alliance.

Last year, lawmakers voted to abolish a springtime public holiday to boost spending on the military.

Denmark has been one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine, providing it with advanced weapons and funds, and also training Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 war planes.

Two Nordic countries – Finland and Sweden – have recently joined Nato, as the alliance is bolstering its defences in Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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