Suspended in 2002 by Royal Decree 247/2001, of 9 March.

  Conscientious objection:


First recognised in the Constitution.









Minimum age




No conscription

Voluntary enlistment:



More including the reply of the Ministry of Defence to the Questionnaire about EBCO’s Annual Report 2021 (e-mail on 20/12/2021).

According to the reply of the Ministry of Defence of Spain to the Questionnaire about EBCO’s Annual Report 2020 (e-mail on 09/02/2021):

The conscription ended on January 1, 2002. It was suspended by Royal Decree 247/2001, of 9 March. Previously, the “Report of the Joint non-permanent Congress-Senate Commission establishing the formula and timescale for the full professionalization of the Armed Forces” was approved by the Congress of Deputies on 28 May 1998 and the Senate on 9 June the same year. This document considered the criteria and general principles for the new professional Armed Forces’ model. Later on, Law 17/1999, of 18 May, on Personnel of the Armed Forces established a transitional period for the full professionalization before the suspension of compulsory military service in 2002.

The right to conscientious objection is recognized in the Spanish Constitution, which was ratified by the Spanish people in the referendum of December 6, 1978, and sanctioned by His Majesty the King before on December 27, 1978. Under Chapter Two, the title “Rights and Duties of Citizens” states in article 30:

1. Citizens have the right and the duty to defend Spain.

2. The law shall determine the military obligations of Spaniards and shall regulate, with the proper safeguards, conscientious objection as well as other grounds for exemption from compulsory military service; it may also, when appropriate, impose a form of social service in lieu thereof.

3. A civilian service may be established with a view to accomplishing objectives of general interest.

4. The duties of citizens in the event of grave risk, catastrophe or public calamity may be regulated by law.

The Law 48/1984, of 26 December, regulated the right to conscientious objection and the social services.

Failure to comply with the alternative social provision of compulsory military service was criminalized under articles 527 and 528 of the Penal Code, as well as non-compliance with the provision of compulsory military service in article 604 of the same Code. These articles have subsequently been repealed by Organic Law 3/2002, of 22 May, amending the Penal Code and the Military Penal Code.

The Organic Law 5/2005, of 17 November, on National Defence, refers to the new professional model of the Armed Forces and set the stage for its development. This Organic Law also establishes the missions (art. 15) and types of operations (art. 16) of the Spanish Armed Forces, either at home and abroad. The Law 37/2007, of 19 November, on the military career, refers to the conditions for accession to Spanish Armed Forces: 18 years (art. 56. 3). Title VI refers to the figure of “Reservists”, therefore developing article 30 of the Spanish Constitution, which establishes the right and the duty of the citizens to defend Spain. There are three categories of Reservists: voluntary, obligatory or with special availability. Royal Decree 383/2011, of 18 March, approves the Regulation of the Reservists in the Armed Forces.

As professional members and uniformed citizens, Royal Decree 96/2009, of 6 February, related to the Royal Ordinances establishes the principles, operating standards and discipline matters relating to all members of the Armed Forces, according to the Organic Law 5/2005 on National Defence. These principles are complementary to those considered at the Law 27/2007 (art. 4), as well as the Organic Law 9/2011, of 27 July, on rights and duties of the members of the Armed Forces (art. 6). The right to conscientious objection is only recognized for obligatory reservists under articles 137 and 138 of the Law 37/2007, and article 54 of the Royal Decree 383/2011, but this category of reservists has never been declared by the Congress of Deputies at request of the Council of Ministers (art. 50).

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