Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Germany Reintroduces Conscription and Urges Citizens to Store Food and Water | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The German government has adopted a new civil defence plan under which conscription will be reintroduced after it was scrapped five years ago. Other steps that have not been taken since the end of the Cold War such as storing food and water in the case of any emergencies that the country may experience have also been proposed.

The proposal to revive conscription can be found in the “Civil support for the armed forces” section of the Interior Ministry’s 69 page document called the “Civil Defence Concept” which aims to prepare Germany for emergency situations such as when the country needs to “defend NATO’s external borders”. The concept is due to be discussed by the German cabinet today. According to DPA news agency, the section states that “The quick and reliable delivery of mail is especially important for the Bundeswehr (in particular, call-up papers and notices of performance in times of reintroduction of conscription) and is ensured under the Post- and Telecommunications Safety Act”.

Media all around the world reported that the German government is urging citizens to store food and water that would last for a period of ten days in anticipation of emergencies. However, no EU countries take these steps at present. Opposition MPs described the concept of the new civil defence plan, which will be discussed on Wednesday, as “scaremongering”.

The government’s recommendations included storing enough food and water to last ten days as a precautionary measure in the case of an emergency in the country. The government advised people to store two litres of water per person per day for a period of ten days.

The German news website Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) stated that the new concept was set out in a 69-page German Interior Ministry document.

Germans immediately began tweeting about the new civil defence concept ironically under the hashtag “Hamsterkaeufe” (panic-buying) on Twitter.

The German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a group of schoolchildren that Germany must be prepared to react if oil and gas supplies were interrupted or water and food reserves were poisoned.

The parliamentary head of the left-wing Die Linke party, Dietmar Bartsch, criticised the civil defence concept by saying “you can completely unsettle people with yet another round of proposals, such as hoarding supplies”.

The deputy parliamentary leader for the Greens’ (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) Konstantin von Notz said it was sensible to update civil defence advice which had not been changed since 1995.

However, he warned against mixing up possible military or terrorist scenarios by saying “I can’t see any attack scenario that merits stockpiling of supplies by the nation”.