Romania follows suit - conscription to be abolished on 1 January 2007


Romania is the next country in South-East Europe to follow the trend to end conscription. In Romania too this is part of a project to modernise the military, and has little to do with disarmament. According to a report by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Bucharest has agreed to transform its army from a Wassaw Pact mammoth into a lean, mobile force that is compatible with NATO's needs. Romania joined NATO in 2004, and also has troops in Iraq as part of the Coalition of the Willing. As of July 2005, the country had 863 troops in Iraq. The country also took part in military "peace" missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Although the size of the Armed Forces shrunk from 235,000 in 1994 to less than 100,000 now and is expected to shrink further to 75,000 by the end of next year, this cannot be said of the military budget. Defence spending has risen to 2.4 per cent of GDP per year (around 1 billion US dollars) for the last five years, even more than NATO's unofficial minimum level of 2.0 per cent.

Source: Institute for War & Peace Reporting: Balkan Crisis Report No 577, 30 September 2005


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