New Prime Minister Albin Kurti restated his promise to make military service compulsory in a speech to the Kosovo Security Force, KSF, marking the 12th anniversary of independence.
By Xhorxhina Bami/
On the 12th anniversary of Kosovo’s independence, new Prime Minister Albin Kurti visited the Kosovo Security Force, KSF, and, after paying homage to war martyrs and veterans, again declared his aim to introduce compulsory military service.
Kurti thanked KSF members for their “service to their country and their patriotism” and added: “The heavy task of protecting the country falls on you. Without an army and without protection we are weak and defenceless.”
He added: “The independence and freedom we enjoy should not only work for some but for all. Your workouts are tiring but your heart beats for the motherland.”
He continued: “We will make military service compulsory because experience and lessons in military service are needed to cope even with the battles of peace.”
During his speech to parliament, on February 3, introducing his cabinet and government programme, Kurti announced plans to introduce compulsory military service as a way of strengthening the country’s defences.
Military experts doubt the promise can be realised, as most Western countries have abolished the draft as an anachronism in a professional army.
Security expert Besa Kabashi Ramaj told BIRN that several aspects need to be considered, starting with the cost, and “whether this cost can be covered without affecting the citizens’ welfare” – and then also whether it matches current practice in Western countries.
Kabashi Ramaj said Kosovo’s current security strategy already draws on the concept of the US National Guard, which is “part of the reserve component and integrates civilian volunteers to structures part-time, enhancing cost-effectiveness as well as readiness and response in cases of civilian and national emergencies”.
Other Western Balkan countries, such as Serbia and Croatia, have considered introducing compulsory military service, but have not done so, due to the high cost.