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Germany

Fewer Conscripts to Serve in German Army

The German army may be forced to draft only every second person required to do military service from 2006 due to budgetary constraints, according to the German Military Union. "Budgetary pressure is forcing the Defense Ministry to reduce the number of soldiers more quickly than originally planned," union chief Bernhard Gertz told daily Berliner Zeitung. The group said the ministry had suggested bringing forward to 2006 a planned trimming of the army originally scheduled for 2010. The move would reduce the current 73,000 conscripted soldiers to 55,000. In recent weeks German Defense Minister Peter Struck unveiled plans to make the German armed forces leaner, fitter and more dependent on professional troops in an effort to slash €26 billion in military spending plans.