French environment minister resigns in blow to Macron

French environment minister resigns in blow to Macron

French environment minister resigns in blow to Macron

France's high-profile environment minister has unexpectedly announced his resignation live on national radio, lamenting the government's lack of decisive action on green issues. Mr Hulot, 62, has been described as the French equivalent of Sir David Attenborough.

The appointment of Hulot came as a surprise when Macron came to office a year ago as both former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande had previously failed to convince the television star to join their respective governments.

"I don't necessarily share the same opinions as Nicolas Hulot, but I can understand that he feels betrayed today, like a lot of French people, by the strong promises that were made and the sense that in the end they have not been kept", said Laurent Wauquiez, head of the rightwing Republicans party. "More than any other".

"But on a challenge this serious, I find myself resigned to it every day, adapting to it a little more each day, even though the global situation with a planet that's becoming a sauna requires us to change our scale, change our scope, change our thinking", Hulot said.

But on France Inter, Hulot said short-term pressures were taking priority in government over the longer-term need to reverse environmental destruction. "I respect his freedom", Macron said. But he defended the government's track record on the environment, saying at a news conference in Copenhagen that "it is not a fight that is won overnight".

Hulot's resignation is an "environmental emergency", says Patrick Monfort, who studies the impact of climate change on microbial ecology at the University of Montpellier in France.

For his part, Rasmussen said "we agree that the European Union should be as close to citizens as possible, and that citizens should be able to rely on the European Union to deliver solutions to problems when they are needed". Macron is on a two-day visit, hoping to build the relationships he needs to push France's agenda of a more closely united European Union.

"This amplified European sovereignty requires reviewing the architecture of European security and defense system, by starting a new dialogue on cybersecurity issues, chemical weapons, conventional weapons, territorial conflicts, space security, the protection of polar regions, and particularly doing it in cooperation with Russian Federation", the president said. Europe is not doing enough. The other is the interior minister, who leads the police and France's domestic fight against terrorism.

He said that he had considered quitting for several months after an "accumulation of disappointments", but that the decision was precipitated on Monday night when he saw an uninvited lobbyist at a meeting with the president over a relaxation of hunting rules.

Leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted that "Macronism is starting to decompose".

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