Macron showcases Euro military prowess

Source:AFP Published: 2019/7/14 20:53:41

France announces creation of national space force command


French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday put European military cooperation at the heart of the Bastille Day parade at a time of growing tensions with the US.

Key EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, joined Macron to watch the annual parade down the Champs Elysees that marks the July 14, 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress in Paris in the French Revolution.

Over 4,000 members of the armed force were to make the ceremonial march to the Place de la Concorde, as fighter jets roared overhead.

Closer European defense cooperation has been one of Macron's key foreign policy aims and the president shows no sign of wavering despite growing political turbulence in Germany and Britain's looming exit from the European Union.

At the 2017 parade, Macron's guest of honor was the freshly-inaugurated US President Donald Trump as the young French leader sought to take the initiative in forming a bond with his counterpart.

But since then ties between Trump and Macron have soured over the US pullout from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, as well as France's new law for a tax on digital giants, mostly US companies.

Macron, who pushed the idea of the European Intervention Initiative (E2I) to undertake missions outside of existing structures like NATO, says European defense cooperation is crucial.

"Never, since the end of World War II has Europe been so important," Macron said in a statement to mark July 14.

He said the aim of the E2I was to "act together and reinforce our capacity to act together," adding: "Our security and our defense pass through Europe."

Forces from all nine countries taking part alongside France in the E2I - including Britain and Germany - will be represented at the parade.

In a sign of France's ambition to be a leading modern military power under Macron, the president Saturday announced the creation of a national space force command that will eventually be part of the air force.

"We will reinforce our knowledge of the situation in space, we will better protect our satellites, including in an active manner," Macron said as he announced the plan, which mirrors a US initiative championed by Trump.



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