It's an old debate in a new guise: Should everyone do compulsory social service? The Thuringian Prime Minister stands at the side of the Federal President. Criticism of the proposal comes from a number of quarters.
Erfurt (dpa/th) - In the debate about social service, Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) has sided with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "Instead of just reflexively just picking on the Federal President and talking about new compulsion again and simply hiding compulsory schooling, I advocate looking at the topic with a little more composure," said Ramelow of the German Press Agency. In Thuringia, too, the initiative has been criticized from several sides.
Ramelow drew parallels with compulsory schooling: this is also a compulsion and the state intervenes in the lives of young people. He wonders why you can't "define" another year. In his opinion, this could mean a period of between nine and twelve months for everyone between the ages of 18 and 25. "It can be social, it can be ecological, it can be military," he said. It is important that it is not a lost year - but can be recognized, for example, in an apprenticeship.
At the weekend, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier initiated a debate about compulsory social service. In the interview with "Bild am Sonntag" he had generally spoken of a mandatory time, not explicitly for young people. Greens and FDP in the federal government had reacted negatively to the proposal. The head of the left-wing parliamentary group, Dietmar Bartsch, also positioned himself against a social obligation. His party colleague Ramelow, on the other hand, had repeatedly advocated compulsory time for young adults in the past.
In Thuringia, the idea of compulsory service met with criticism from several parties. The spokesman for the FDP group in the Thuringian state parliament, Thomas Kemmerich, said: "We do not gain skilled workers by nationalizing a year of life, but by not delaying the start of our careers."
Young people showed extreme solidarity during the corona pandemic, said Astrid Rothe-Beinlich, chairwoman of the Greens parliamentary group in the state parliament. "Confronting them now of all times with a compulsory year or the reintroduction of compulsory services is, in our view, going in the completely wrong direction." Instead, voluntary services should be strengthened. The youth policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group in the state parliament, Denny Möller, also called for this: "This debate is particularly absurd after the pandemic has just asked a lot from young people."
"I don't know what one has to do with the other," Ramelow said of such arguments. The elderly would have suffered just as much from Corona. Support for Steinmeier's initiative comes from the Thuringian CDU parliamentary group. "Serving the common good for a year does no harm and brings us forward as a society," said parliamentary group leader Mario Voigt.