Romania Quietly Gears Up for Compulsory Military Service Amidst Personnel Shortage

Southeast Europe | April 23, 2024, Tuesday // 15:27|  views

Amid escalating tensions on its borders and a significant increase in the Ministry of National Defense budget, Romania is discreetly preparing for the reintroduction of compulsory military service, according to reports from Digi24. Despite the ongoing conflict and increased defense spending, Romania faces a substantial shortage of military personnel, particularly in officer ranks, with only 57 percent of positions filled. Comparatively, neighboring Bulgaria contends with a 26 percent deficit in officer positions.

Authorities in Bulgaria attribute their shortage to alleged disinformation campaigns about Russia's war in Ukraine and deficiencies in the military system. The government in Sofia has proposed public discussions on the potential reinstatement of mandatory military service.

In Romania, factors contributing to the personnel shortage include low salaries and early retirements. Nicolae Ciuca, Chairman of the National Liberal Party and former Prime Minister, expressed skepticism about the immediate feasibility of compulsory military service due to inadequate infrastructure.

Against this backdrop, it emerged that a quarter of applicants for military service in the Romanian army failed the physical fitness test during the spring recruitment campaign, held from February to April. Out of 6,448 applicants, 24 percent did not meet the physical requirements, while 18 percent failed psychological tests, and 12 percent failed medical examinations. Consequently, only 2,626 applicants were accepted.

The Ministry of National Defense emphasized that the physical fitness test is of moderate difficulty and should be passable for candidates aged 18 to 45 with normal physical development. A second recruitment campaign is planned for May.

Before abolishing conscription in 2007, Romania boasted an army of over 300 thousand personnel. Presently, approximately 70 thousand individuals serve in the armed forces, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

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Tags: Romania, military, personnel, shortage


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