French environment minister quits government

French environment minister quits government

Clearly emotional, Hulot made clear his frustrations at what he said was France's slow pace of progress on green issues.

He said discussions on defense cooperation should be extended to all European countries and Russian Federation, on condition that progress is made with Moscow on the fighting in eastern Ukraine between the government and Russia-backed separatists.

"It's an honest and responsible decision", he added. It was a notable catch for the newly elected leader, after several previous French presidents had been unable to persuade Hulot, a free-spirited activist, to join the government.

Mr Hulot said that he had not told Mr Macron or Prime Minister Edouard Philippe of his decision, because he believed they would try to talk him out of it.

In the interview, Hulot said he still had an "immense friendship" with Macron's government.

"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.

"Nuclear is not bad for Carbon dioxide emissions", Macron explained past year, insisting that "with renewable energies, it's the most decarbonated way to produce electricity".

"I don't understand why he is stepping down when we had many successes in the first year that are to his credit", he told BFM TV.

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While saying he had "profound admiration" for Macron, Hulot made a series of damaging remarks, denouncing the influence of "lobbies" and "targets that we know in advance we won't meet".

So on Tuesday, he quit his post in dramatic fashion, dealing a blow to President Emmanuel Macron's green credentials.

Since his election a few weeks earlier, Macron has put environmental issues at the centre of his claim for European Union leadership, along with eurozone integration, migration, and the digital economy.

He has made the battle against global warming one of his foreign policy priorities, organising a major conference in Paris a year ago in an effort to compensate for Trump's scepticism about climate change.

His doubts about remaining in government had grown over the summer as devastating droughts were met with a tepid political response, he said. "I prefer little steps to not moving".

France is "persisting" in a nuclear industry that's a "useless madness, economically and technically", Hulot said.

Macron's political opponents pounced on the resignation.

Michel Dubromel, the president of France Nature Environment, a federation of environmental groups, said in a statement on Tuesday that he shared the analysis that Hulot was "too often isolated" in the government.

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