Either shore up reserve forces or bring back conscription, says Romanian general

Romania’s army reserves are dangerously depleted, with just 2,000 voluntary reservists on its books

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Ziare
Honor guard soldiers stand at attention in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, during a memorial ceremony for those killed in the 1989 uprising. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Romania must either rebuild its reserve forces or reintroduce conscription, retired Romanian and NATO General Virgil Bălăceanu has said.

Bălăceanu, former head of the Multinational Brigade South-East, said on Monday that a law that is absolutely necessary for the replenishment of the Romanian Army reserve has been circulating in the inter-institutional procedure for more than three years.

The retired army general told Prima News that there is no peacetime army that does not have a reserve and gave the example of Ukraine, which, he said, “would not have survived if it did not have a reserve, which means replenishing the units.” According to him, the successful direction is to replenish the reserves, initially through recruitment on a voluntary basis.

“There is also a need to train the operational reserves, those who completed their military service until 2007. All these issues are included as amendments to the law on preparing the population for defense,” said Bălăceanu.

“If we do not rebuild the Romanian Army’s reserve on the principles of voluntary service, then we will have to reintroduce compulsory military service, and such a decision cannot be postponed for the next five years,” he warned.

“Do you think that we will have any political party that in its electoral program will raise the issue of reintroducing compulsory military service? I rule out such a possibility because it would be a disaster in the elections,” Virgil Bălăceanu pointed out.

He noted, however, that “the parties that win the elections will be obliged, if the Romanian Army does not have its reserves replenished, to decide to reintroduce compulsory military service,” pointing out that Romania currently only has 2,000 voluntary reservists compared to Poland’s 38,000.

“At present, they are trying to recruit all the young people who have been selected as voluntary reservists,” he said of Warsaw.

Romania abolished conscription in 2007, but only eight years later, parliament began debating to bring it back. That was tabled due to insufficient political support, but in May the government decided to revisit the issue.

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