One in two French youths, aged between 18 and 25, is prepared to enlist in the military to support Ukraine if the need arises.(Photo by Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)

Regional Signal

French youth back compulsory military service amid war in Ukraine


The majority of French people aged between 18 and 25 are prepared to enlist in the armed forces to support Ukraine if the need arises, a new survey has revealed.

Some 62 per cent of young people are in favour of the establishment of a new compulsory military service, while 53 per cent back an increase of the French military’s resources.

Various factors are said to contribute to this apparent surge in the young’s willingness to sign up.

The survey published by the French Ministry for Armed Forces showed the general disenchantment with military service that characterised French society over the past few years seems to be over.

Sociologist Anne Muxel, who led the study, said: “Anti-militarism has waned among the younger generation.”

She said an increased sense of threats that could affect France was behind the “regain[ing] of patriotism” among younger French People, exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war and the ongoing situation regarding Israel, Palestine and Iran.

“The feeling that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, at the gates of the European Union, represents a tangible danger is very present,” Muxel said.

Nadine Herrati, a member of the French Green Party, expressed enthusiasm about the survey findings, noting: “There’s a growing awareness of a shared narrative among our youth.

“Building a European defence now emerges as an inspiring endeavour,” she added.

Those comments drew criticism from La France Insoumise MP Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who questioned the Green Party’s stance on military engagement.

“In the past, the Greens were pacifists. From now on they are going to war and find the war ‘exciting’,” Mélenchon said.

The latest survey seems to resonate with French President Emmanuel Macron’s February address regarding the country’s potential military involvement in Ukraine.