An Ipsos survey produced for RTL-TVI, Le Soir, VTM and Het Laatste Nieuws shows that nearly two in three Belgians (65%) would like compulsory military or civilian service to be reinstated. The Walloons (78%) are the greatest proponents of the measure, well ahead of the Flemish (58%). According to the 2,500 people surveyed, young women should also be obliged to undertake such service. It is mainly older people (77% of those over 55) who support the idea. Only 48% of youngsters back it.
Military service was abolished in Belgium in 1992, but the Minister for National Defence, Steven Vandeput (N-VA), does not himself favour the restoration of conscription. He commented, when interviewed on VTM on Monday evening, “We now have a professional army which is organised, so as to contribute to international missions. We therefore now need highly specialised individuals who undergo long periods of training, longer than compulsory military service would allow.”