French paratroopers march on the Champs-Elysees avenue during the Bastille Day parade in Paris, France, Sunday July 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

France trumpets shared European defense on Bastille Day

July 14, 2019 - 6:39 am

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron has overseen France's annual Bastille Day celebration, which this year showcases European defense cooperation.

Flags of the 10 countries of the European Intervention Initiative, a joint military pact created last year, led Sunday's military parade down the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris.

Although the display included over 4,000 armed forces, 69 planes and 39 helicopters, its biggest crowd-pleaser was a man rocketing through the air on a flyboard device — the invention of French former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata.

At France's 2017 Bastille Day parade, U.S. President Donald Trump, as guest of honor, was so impressed he ordered a military parade in Washington for America's July 4 celebrations.

Macron will later host a lunch at the Elysee Palace with other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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