Germany: Unemployed as actors in military exercises?v

On 27 June, German Minister of Defence Peter Struck came up with a new proposal to fight unemployment, and to "outsource" certain military needs: unemployed can be used as actors in military exercises. He made the suggestion when visiting a German military training base, observing a military exercise: the searching of Kosovars at a checkpoint. In such exercises, up to 400 soldiers of the German military are needed to play "civilians" - a role, for which no military training is needed, and which could easily be filled out by some of the 4.75 million unemployed in Germany. While the idea lead to quite some protest, it does not even seem to be new. At the military barracks of Hammelburg in Bavaria, it is already practice that the German military asks a temporary employement agency to provide actors for military exercises.

This raises the issue of freedom of conscience for unemployed: would unemployment benefit be stopped, if an unemployed would refuse to take up the role of a civilian in a military exercise for reasons of conscience?

Sources: Sozialverband VdK Deutschland,

Berliner Zeitung, 29 June 2005,