NATO Secretary General joins French President, European leaders at Bastille Day parade
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders in celebrating France’s national day at the Bastille Day parade in Paris on Sunday (14 July 2019).
Under the theme "acting together", forces from eight NATO Allies – Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK – participated in the parade alongside their French counterparts, as well as close partner Finland. Members of the Franco-German Brigade – an important element of NATO’s high-readiness forces – were also involved. This year some 4,300 troops took part in the parade, as well as around 200 vehicles, 70 planes, 40 helicopters, and 200 horses.
Other leaders present at the parade included Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium; President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands; President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal; and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland, as well as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen, Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles and UK Minister for the Cabinet Office David Lidington were also in attendance.
Following the parade, Secretary General Stoltenberg joined President Macron and the other visiting leaders for a lunch meeting at the Élysée Palace. The discussion focused on European defence cooperation, including in NATO, the European Union, and multinationally.
France celebrates its national day – "Fête nationale" – on 14 July each year, commemorating the storming of the Bastille fortress in 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution.