Compulsory military service dies out in Europe as Switzerland goes for referendum
GENEVA (AFP) - Obligatory military service has been progressively abolished in most European countries, though Switzerland looks certain to maintain the draft in a referendum on Sunday.
Compulsory since the start of the 19th century in most European countries, conscription armies have gradually been replaced by professional forces since the 1960s.
In Western Europe, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Austria, Greece and Cyprus are the only other countries to have kept their system of conscription.
Led by Britain and Luxembourg in the 1960s and followed in the 1990s and 2000s by nations including Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland and Germany, successive European nations have abandoned the call-up.