Macron loses environment minister in surprise resignation

European security must no longer depend on US, France's Macron says

French president announces new push for EU defense

France's energy and environment minister Nicolas Hulot resigned from Emmanuel Macron's government, saying the president's administration has made only "small steps" in protecting the environment and has failed to question the use of nuclear energy.

But Hulot balked at the government's decision to postpone the reduction of nuclear energy to 50% of the national energy mix, and he became frustrated at the slow pace of progress on his plan to bring France to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Nicolas Hulot said on air with French news channel BFM TV that he is disappointed with the government's track record on issues such as pesticides, biodiversity and climate change, CNN reported.

"It's an honest and responsible decision", he added.

With the exceptions of France and Britain, all other European members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have lived under the nuclear umbrella provided by the United States since World War II.

The French president, who will head to Denmark and Finland for a three-day trip from Tuesday hoping to shore up support for his European Union shake-up, called for redoubled efforts to reform the bloc.

Hulot was initially best known to the French public for presenting television shows that aimed to raise awareness about the environment.

The nomination of the hugely popular green activist as ecology minister in May 2017 raised high hopes that France would drastically ramp up action to protect its environment and counter climate change.

Hulot was left disappointed when the government backtracked on a target to reduce the share of nuclear power in the country's energy mix to 50 percent by 2025, while European Union negotiations on pesticides were another source of frustration.

On Monday, the cost of a hunting license was cut in half - a final bitter pill for the vegetarian and animal rights campaigner.

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.

Hulot was chosen by Macron to lead efforts to combat global warming following the Paris climate deal in December 2015.

"Do you do an environmental revolution in one year?"

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".

Projecting stability, defending German interests and outlasting her opponents have been key to Merkel's political longevity during her nearly 13 years in office.

"I am not calling for a referendum but for a debate, and it shouldn't just be black or white", Loekke Rasmussen said.

In a speech to French ambassadors Monday, Macron said world trade rules aren't now working but "unilateralism and trade war is the worst response".

Latest News