'French President Emmanuel Macron is re-introducing compulsory national military service for young people in France, the government said today.
By bringing back national service two decades after it was scrapped, Macron is fulfilling one of his campaign pledges.
During his presidential campaign, Macron promised to make all young people spend a month getting 'a direct experience of military life with its know-how and demands'.
He billed it as a way to build social cohesion and patriotism in a country battling deep divisions, by bringing young people from different backgrounds together in a barracks.
But the proposal raised hackles in the army, which is already stretched thin by anti-terrorism operations in the Middle East and West Africa as well as patrols against jihadists at home.
Opposition parties and experts also warned of the costs involved in training up 600,000 and 800,000 youngsters a year.
Last week, Defence Minister Florence Parly appeared to cast doubt on the scope of the plan, saying it would 'probably not be obligatory'.
But government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux on Tuesday insisted that Macron would not beat a retreat on the proposal.'
Read more: Macron brings back national service two decades after it was scrapped in bid to heal deep divisions in the country (yes, I'm sure that's the reason)
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