Friday, February 2, 2007

On Her Majesty's Service

Bernard Kouchner (right), the founder of Doctor's Without Borders, has been tasked by Socialist candidate Segolene Royal to make a report on the possibility of a national civil service for 19 to 25 year-olds. This past July, the Socialist Party promoted the idea of creating a 6 month obligatory civil service for young people to engage in non-military national activities.

However, such a service has already met stiff resistance. The head of the young Socialists has said that France just doesn't have the ability to accomodate the 350,000 people each 6 month bloc, and that "the whole of associations and trade unions which one consulted were against the obligatory form (of service)." Segolene Royal herself has also expressed doubts, saying that any new system must begin "a first stage of experimentation on the basis of volunteering." "It is a subject which remains to be deepened, to work in participative steps." She has also said that the actually service time itself may be spread over time, and not consecutive.

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