Macron’s European partners were guests of honour on Bastille DayEuropost
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and five other European leaders were guests of honour in Paris as Sunday's Bastille Day parade celebrated European military cooperation, DPA reported. Merkel and leaders from Belgium, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands and Portugal were welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Place de la Concorde.
The leaders and French ministers and officials then watched a display of new military technology including robots - one of them a joint Franco-German project mounted with the two countries' flags. The display also saw an armed man flying over the square on a Flyboard - a type of turbine-powered hoverboard developed by French jet ski champion turned inventor Franky Zapata.
Troops from the 10 countries taking part in the European Intervention Initiative, were the first to march down the Champs-Elysees, saluting Macron, Merkel and the other leaders. The initiative, a sort of rapid response force, was formed last year at France's suggestion and also includes Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Around 500 soldiers from the joint Franco-German Brigade also took part in the parade, along with a Spanish contingent returning from deployment with an EU training mission in Mali.
A small number of protesters earlier booed Macron as he was driven down the Champs-Elysees on an open-topped military command car escorted by 147 horsemen and 28 motorcyclists. The protesters, about 20 to 50 amid crowds of onlookers, also released yellow balloons in an apparent sign of support for the Yellow Vest protest movement, France 2 TV reported.