France's environment minister suddenly quits live on air

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He told France Inter that he was quitting the government: "I made the decision to leave the government", he said, admitting he felt "all alone in pushing" environmental issues.

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for increased defense in an effort to enhance European security.

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.

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot visits a photovoltaic power plant in Allonnes near Le Mans, France, on January 8, 2018.

Never a career politician, Hulot accepted a role in government in the hope that, from an inside position, he could make real progress on the environmental concerns that he has long sounded the alarm about.

Nicolas Hulot, one of the most respected members of the cabinet among the French public, took even his interviewers by surprise on the France Inter radio station when announcing his move.

Nicolas Hulot, an admired television presenter who was a big catch for Mr Macron a year ago, said that he was walking out as environment minister in frustration over the government's failure to undertake serious green policies.

"I am going to take. the most hard decision of my life", the minister said in an interview on France Inter radio.

His comments follow US President Donald Trump repeatedly distanced himself from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance, which groups the United States with most of Europe and has underpinned European security since World War II. Macron's plan last summer to "make our planet great again," announced hours after the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate accord, certainly seemed to go in that direction. "I think the most basic courtesy would have been to warn the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister".

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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".

The government is preparing an energy policy road map for the next 10 years, which aims to reduce the use of nuclear power.

On Monday, the cost of a hunting licence was cut in half to 200 euros - another bitter pill for the vegetarian.

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

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said the cabinet "regretted" his resignation, but also described it as "a blow from which we'll recover". "I prefer little steps to not moving". But he also defended his government's environmental record, citing his vow to close the country's coal plants and halt hydrocarbon production.

He had also sought a legal ban on the controversial weedkiller glyphosate but was overruled by the agriculture ministry, which preferred negotiating directly with farmers and industry.

Macron's political opponents immediately seized on the resignation.

Hulot, an ecologist and former TV presenter, is understood to have no further political ambitions at present, and hopes his resignation will be the "electroshock" to mobilise a change of paradigm for climate change.