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Germany may introduce conscription for all 18-year-olds

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Mr Pistorius, who polls regularly show to be the country’s most popular politician, has previously described the decision to suspend conscription as “a mistake”.

Its possible reintroduction comes as Germany’s ageing society means the number of soldiers heading into retirement is outstripping the number of new recruits joining up to replace them.

Meanwhile, Berlin has also set a target of raising the size of its armed forces from some 180,000 today to more than 200,000.

The defence ministry is believed to be sceptical that this target can be met without some form of conscription.

Opposition within government

Mr Pistorius is likely to face considerable resistance to his plans from inside the German government, however.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has previously voiced his opposition to such a move, while ministers from junior coalition partners the Free Democrats and the Greens have also stated they would oppose it.

Nonetheless, momentum for reintroducing conscription is growing.

At its party conference this week, the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), Germany’s main opposition party, reversed its stance by voting for a motion to support the “reintroduction of conscription in a step-by-step process”.

Mr Pistorius has signalled an openness to working across party lines, saying he was “pleased that the CDU is on a similar path to the one I have been working on”.

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