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Record number of active service members in Estonian Defence Forces

14. March 2019 - 12:19
Record number of active service members in Estonian Defence Forces
Record number of active service members in Estonian Defence Forces

The Government of the Republic received an overview of the report on military service today, according to which there was a record increase in the number of active servicemen last year and a abrupt decline in the percentage of those who interrupted their military service.

According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the most notable result from last year is the growth in the number of active servicemen by 135, to a total of 3422, which exceeds the planned objective for the year by 12 people.

‘This growth indicates that the measures implemented over the past few years, such as raising the average wage of active servicemen to 33% above the average Estonian wage, are starting to pay off,’ noted Luik.

‘Equally important is the reduction in the interruption of conscript service by half,’ noted Luik. Last year, 11.4% of conscripts withdrew from conscript service, with 18.8% doing so in 2017 and 20% in 2016.

Last year, the number of persons liable to national defence obligation who met the applicable health requirements – 43% – exceeded the number for the year before last – 36%.

At the same time, one-third enter conscript service voluntarily and prefer to do so immediately after completing upper secondary school. For example, students from one graduating class from Rakvere Upper Secondary School completed conscript service together.

Last year, at the proposal of the Minister of Defence, the Government of the Republic decided to raise the child allowance for conscripts by a factor of 6, from EUR 50 to EUR 300. The participation fee for reserve training exercises was also increased.

Last year, 3376 men and 27 women entered service, which exceeded the annual target set for the Defence Resources Agency.

The organisation of military service information days for women, conscript work shadowing, and the call-up for conscript service together with one’s class will continue this year.

The report on military service (in Estonian): (PDF)

Further information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee