Commander Francisco Benavente, head of the Balearic Recruitment Centre said yesterday “soon we'll have a single currency and hopefully in the future we'll have a single army,” suggesting that the Spanish armed forces are well aware of the plans for a European army and that they support the proposal. The Commander explains that since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 there have been a number of profound changes which for Western military forces has meant a reduction in spending and investment. He says that the changes have brought about military cut backs in both nuclear and conventional fields. The Commander said that the Spanish armed forces also want to be as efficient as possible, but with fewer units, becoming a more effective but compact force. Commander Benavente believes that the future will see the armed forces developing along similar lines to the European Union - first the single currency and then a single military force. Benavente says that in the long term once political and economic unity has been achieved in the European Union, he envisages a common defence system. The end of conscription heralds the dawn of a new era for the Spanish armed forces, slick and expensive television advertisements are crying out for 9'000 professional recruits, but the Commander does not believe the military will have problems in establishing a professional armed force. He says that the general public's perception of the military has changed over recent years because of two main developments. The first being women allowed to join up and the second is the army's international humanitarian and peace keeping roles.

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