Experimentation launched in 13 departments with 3,000 volunteers in June

Edouard Philippe had launched a large consultation on the universal national service, on September 13, 2018 in Avignon. – Boris HORVAT / AFP

The military service, form 2019, has arrived! 3,000 young volunteers will experience next June the future universal national service (SNU). This campaign promise Emmanuel Macron will be launched in 13 pilot departments with the program: singing of the Marseillaise, first aid training, workshops around republican values, orientation races, etc …

To better draw its contours, the government will call this year some 200 young volunteers, aged 16, in each of the "13 pilot departments" to perform a first phase on a voluntary basis, announced the Secretary of Gabriel Attal State. In the long term, the National Universal Service must be organized in two stages: a phase
up to one mandatory month, for 16-year-olds, then an optional phase of three to twelve months.

It is in March that the first volunteers will be recruited. "I asked the prefects to map the youth of their department so that they participate at the same time young people in school, apprentices, dropouts, young people with disabilities," said Gabriel Attal. They will be sent to one of the pilot departments in the second half of June. At the end of this fortnight, a republican ceremony will be celebrated.

What about compulsory service?

The day will begin with "the salute to the flag and the singing of the national anthem". "This moment of republican communion is important," said the secretary of state. In uniform, young people will be housed in boarding schools or army buildings and supervised by military and paid educators. They will be trained in first aid, response to an attack or natural disaster, and receive modules on environmental protection or the values ​​of the Republic.

A health check and French tests will also be offered. The minister wants to focus on debates and role plays, but also "outside" activities, such as forest walks, orientation races and obstacle crossings.

As for the timetable for setting up a compulsory service, it is not yet decided. The report by General Daniel Ménaouine, which served as the basis for the project, proposes that it be effective by 2026 at the latest. "We are working on scenarios that allow us to go a little faster," says Gabriel Attal.