The Strategist

First resignation in Macron's government: French Minister of Ecology is stepping down

08/29/2018 - 15:16

There is a first loss in the government of President Emmanuel Macron, The Minister of Ecology, Nicolas Hulot, is resigning. He made his statement live on radio during an interview with the France Inter. The departure of Mr. Hulot becomes a new sign of the government's shift to the right.

COPPARIS2015 via flickr
COPPARIS2015 via flickr
When officials say they quit Twitter, it does not surprise anyone, but what the Minister of Ecology and the quite influential person, Nicolas Hulot, did, astounded even seasoned journalists. "It's true, we felt something unusual in his behavior, cold fury," says one of his interlocutors on the air of France Inter, Lea Salame, "but we could not imagine that he would now announce his resignation."

Close associates of the Minister assure that this step was calculated in advance. Nicolas Hulot said later that he warned of his intention neither President Macron, not the Premier Minister Edouard Philippe, not even his wife. "I made the most difficult decision in my life," the Minister said. "I cannot lie to myself anymore. I do not want to create the illusion that my presence in the government means that we are ready to solve problems." Apparently, he meant use of pesticides that infect the land, animals and plants, as well as harm to nature caused by nuclear energy.

He said that he began to think about resigning during the meeting of President Macron with hunters. They represent influential lobby in France, and so President promised to lower hunting license fees, to expand hunting grounds and to extent animals kill lists.

It should be particularly noted that the Minister of Ecology played an unusually important role in the government of Emmanuel Macron. A man who never considered himself a professional politician, journalist, writer, environmentalist Nicolas Hulot was an influential person for a large number of future voters. By the way, their number is no less than the number of hunters. He refused job offers from government twice, but decided to help current president. For example, his efforts ended a long dispute over construction of a new airfield in the commune of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, which almost turned into an armed conflict with the police.

This problem could not be solved by the two previous presidents, but Mr. Hulot helped President Macron resolve the conflict in favor of environmentalists, canceling the initial plans for construction. Of course, it was extremely useful for President, who is widely believed to be "President of the Rich".

The main problem now is to find an adequate replacement, since environmentalists and professional politicians from the Green Party will certainly be cautious.

Nicolas Hulot admitted that his performance at the France Inter is poorly consistent with the protocol, and government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux even reproached him for "lack of courtesy." However, President Macron himself, who is currently on a visit to Denmark, commented on the resignation of one of the key government ministers: "I chose Nicolas Hulot also because he is a free man and I respect his freedom. I would like to count on his help, albeit in a different form, and I respect his decision. For 15 months he did more than anyone else could in his place." Prime Minister Edouard Philippe joined the chorus of regrets, saying about the former minister that he "loved to work" with him.