German Chancellor Angela Merkel demonstrated physical fitness during Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, walking about half a mile without incident after suffering three bouts of trembling in public since June.
With temperatures around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, Merkel walked for 10 minutes to the German Embassy after attending a two-hour military parade on France’s national holiday, during which she both sat and stood. At the embassy, she stood while making brief comments to reporters thanking President Emmanuel Macron for inviting her and several other European leaders for Sunday’s event.
Merkel, who turns 65 on Wednesday, has faced increasing questions about whether health concerns will prevent her from completing her fourth term, which ends in 2021. Last week, she said she’s aware of the responsibilities of her office and “will act on questions regarding my health.”
After the parade, Merkel walked with Macron to salute several war veterans. The chancellor has been in power since 2005, making her Europe’s longest-serving leader.
For Macron, the celebration was an opportunity to reassert his call for a European Union army. France’s long-term ambition is to work with other countries to create a European army to share procurement, command and operations, Defense Minister Florence Parly told Le Parisien.
“I see this as a big gesture toward a European defense policy,” Merkel said of Macron’s invitation. “I believe this is a sign of strengthening of European cooperation.”