Bulgaria plans register of young people eligible for military service

Bulgaria, which abolished conscription as of January 2008, is planning legislative amendments that will enable the compilation of a register of people aged 18 to 32 eligible for military service, in a move intended to bolster the country’s military reserve, Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev confirmed on February 24 2016.

The list of young people, men and women, will be drawn from the records of the Civil Register and Administrative Services directorate, on the basis of proposed amendments to the Defence and Armed Forces Act.

Nenchev said that in addition, young people would be able to volunteer for special military training and then would be included in the military reserve along with those personnel who had served in the Bulgarian military.

The proposed changes are being put forward against a background of the diminishing numbers of Bulgaria’s military reserve.

The Defence Ministry has drafted amendments to several laws, apart from the Defence and Armed Forces Act, including the Armed Forces Reserve Act and the Military Police Act. The amendments are included in the Cabinet’s legislative programme for the first half of 2016.

The amendments envisage reducing the upper age limit for recruiting military personnel from 32 to 28 and changing the age limit for retirement from service from 50 to 46.

Bulgaria, a Nato member since 2004, abolished military service as of January 1 2008, discharging the last conscripts on November 25 2007, sending home 2413 conscripts.

Before then, conscription had covered military service for male Bulgarian citizens from 18 to 27. The length of the call-up depended on a citizen’s level of education, ranging for six months for those studying for or holding a bachelor’s degree, to nine months for those without tertiary education.

In the years leading up to the end of conscription, the length of the call-up had been progressively reduced from a peak of two years.

Bulgaria opened its first recruitment centre for volunteers wishing to enlist in July 2006.

(Photo: A US NCO training Bulgarian military personnel during an exercise in Germany in 2013. Nato.int)



The Sofia Globe staff

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