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French president announces new push for European Union defence

30 August 2018

Nicolas Hulot was among Macron's first ministerial appointments following his May 2017 election victory.

"I don't want to create the illusion that my presence in the government means that we are up to the task on these issues, and so I have chose to leave the government today", Hulot told the stunned radio hosts, one of whom asked him whether he was being serious.

'I want us to launch an exhaustive review of our security with all Europe's partners, which includes Russian Federation, ' he added.

Macron's visit coincided with political turbulence at home, as France's well-known environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, unexpectedly announced his resignation, citing frustration with a lack of action from European and global leaders.

The European Union must stop depending on the United States for security and must now rely on its own military forces for protection, France's President Emmanuel Macron said.

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.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday (27 August) called for Europe to stop relying on the United States for its military defence as he pushed for fresh European Union integration in the face of rising nationalism around the continent.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux expressed bemusement at Hulot's departure, which the government "regretted".

"He didn't win all his battles but that's the way it goes for ministers", Griveaux added. "It is up to us to guarantee European security", Macron told an audience of some 250 diplomats, lawmakers and worldwide relations experts.

Hulot had also voiced disappointment after Macron wavered on a commitment to ban the weedkiller glyphosate, sold under Monsanto's Roundup trademark, and failed to prevent Total's La Mede refinery producing biofuel from imported palm oil linked to deforestation.

Macron initially said he doesn't usually comment on French affairs while overseas, but later called the resignation a personal choice, adding that France would "continue its work" on combatting climate change.

"This may not be the right protocol, but if I had warned them they might have talked me out of it yet again", Hulot said.

"There is still no energy transition policy in France", she said.

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

"We're taking little steps, and France is doing a lot more than other countries, but are little steps enough?. the answer is no", he added, after months of speculation over his role in government.

"I think that in 15 months, this government has done more than any other on the subject (of the environment) in the same period".

Nevertheless, the centrist French president's political rivals wasted little time seizing on Hulot's surprise resignation as a "vote of censure against Macron".

French president announces new push for European Union defence