Monday, 15 July 2019
Prime Minister Charles Michel said he shared French President Emmanuel Macron’s desire to increase Europe’s strategic defence autonomy on Sunday.
“One needs the correct operational capacity to guarantee peace, security, stability and democracy. Therefore, we need the means to achieve our goals. The European angle is important because of the increasing number of security threats,” he said during a Bastille Day march in Paris on the 14th of July.
This year’s theme was European military cooperation.
Macron has made European defence one of his top priorities. He thinks it is important for Europe to have more strategic autonomy, while still being backed by NATO. The Prime Minister seems to share this vision.
“We have made a lot of progress on this. There has been a lot of political momentum, a lot of countries have got involved. We will have to find a way we can still work with NATO, while at the same time develop a strategy that includes a communal political and diplomatic plan,” Michel said.
The nine other countries which have joined France’s European Intervention Initiative (E2I) – Belgium, the UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain, Portugal and Finland – all took part in the march. President Macron created the initiative a year ago. Its aim is to develop a “shared strategic culture.”
Michel said the Bastille Day march was “full of emotion.” He was accompanied by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
France invited around a dozen of its European military partners to take part in this year’s march.
Around 4,300 soldiers, 196 vehicles, 237 horses, 69 airplanes and 39 helicopters joined the march down the famous avenue des Champs Elysées.
The Brussels Times