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Army set to open ranks to foreigners

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10:59 CET+01:00
Foreigners living in Germany could soon be able to join the country's army, according to a proposal being put together by the Defence Ministry to make the new, professional fighting force more attractive.

The 73-page dossier of suggestions which has been seen by Focus magazine, includes the suggestion to open up the armed forces to foreigner residents in Germany.

Other ideas include attempts to make the Bundeswehr more family-friendly for soldiers, with the provision of parent-child work rooms in around 200 bases, as well as two-week holiday care for children to be provided at 100 bases.

Some bases will even include kindergartens, while parents and those caring for family members will be able to conduct at least part of their training remotely to make it easier for them.

Other changes could include soldiers being able to take time out, as well as the provision of trainee places, and new army-financed study places.

Those who leave the army for jobs in the private sector will also be able to take their pension provision with them in the attempt to make joining the military a more attractive professional option.

The top age limit for reserve soldiers will be scrapped, while the maximum time for soldiers to remain in the army will be raised from 20 to 25 years.

The dossier says these measures will all require significant financial investment, although it is not clear where the money might come from.

Germany is in the process of changing its military from one based partly on conscription to a smaller, professional force, with the last conscripts having been accepted for their six-month stint this January.

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DPA/hc

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