Proposal aimed at uniting Angela Merkel’s party criticised as populist by opposition

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is floating the idea of a new form of compulsory national service in Germany for all young people and migrants.

For over 50 years, all German men were obliged to spend a year in the army after leaving school. Those who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, volunteered their time in community service instead.

The program was abolished in 2011, but the belief that young people should dedicate a year to national service persists in many conservative circles. Now, the CDU leadership, keen to reunite the party around traditional core values, is revisiting the concept.

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