Courtesy of the Xinhua News Agency

November 5, 2015

Lithuania’s political parties agreed on Thursday to extend military conscription after 2020.

The decision to extend the military conscription for at least a year after 2020 has been made at the meeting of the leaders of all parliamentary parties.

“We see that those threats from the East won’t disappear,” Arturas Paulauskas, chair of the parliamentary National Security and Defense Committee, told local media after the meeting.

Mandatory military service was introduced earlier this year amid changing security situation in the Eastern Europe with conflicts in Eastern Ukraine. Initially, the system of mandatory military service was planned to be introduced for five years, until 2020.

According to Paulauskas, the Seimas, Lithuanian parliament, is to approve the decision in December.

Lithuanian president, the speaker of the Seimas and the chief of the Army also support the extension of military conscription. Juozas Olekas, Lithuanian defense minister, was the only to resist the idea. He argued Lithuania has to build its military reserve from professional servicemen.

“I think during the coming five years we will have a sufficient number of men and women deciding to choose a professional service in Lithuanian Army,” said Olekas.

Earlier this summer, during the first round of conscription to draft up to 3,500 men aged between 19 and 26, Lithuanian Army saw a wave of volunteers that have built up a necessary number of servicemen in most counties of the country.

Military conscription in Lithuania was abolished in 2008. The country reintroduced a nine-month mandatory military service in response to rising geopolitical tensions in the region.

While trying to build up its military reserve, Lithuania has also increased defense spending. For 2016, the country plans to increase its defense budget by 35 percent.