Emmanuel Macron: Europe needs to take responsibility for its security

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

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

France's high-profile environment minister, former TV personality Nicolas Hulot, has unexpectedly announced his resignation live on national radio, dealing a blow to the lofty green ambitions of President Emmanuel Macron. Mr Hulot, 62, has been described as the French equivalent of Sir David Attenborough.

Hulot, a TV celebrity and veteran environmental activist, joined Macron's government in May a year ago and has since struggled to fit in with other members of the cabinet and its general policies.

"It's a personal decision that he took this morning and if I chose Nicolas Hulot 15 months ago it's because he is a free man".

A decision by Government to relax hunting legislation in a "victory for lobbyists" is understood to have been the last straw for the minister.

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot attends a press conference at the end of a G7 summit on the environment in Bologna on June 12, 2017.

"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.

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Hulot, a former TV presenter and environment activist, was third in the government hierarchy. "He didn't win all his battles but that's the way it goes for ministers".

Later in the day, during a state visit to Denmark, Macron called his minister's surprising move a "personal decision".

"Political and administrative timeframes aren't necessarily as one hopes, coming from activism", an Elysee official said, insisting that Hulot's deep commitment to environmentalism was evidenced by the government's policy track record.

The French President said he was keen to further enhance the connection between the two countries in the form of an strengthened military partnership. The shock announcement came the day after Mr Hulot and Mr Macron met members of the hunting lobby at the Elysee Palace to discuss hunting reforms.

Macron also criticised US President Donald Trump's "aggressive" isolationism.

Hulot was initially best known to the French public for presenting television shows that aimed to raise awareness about the environment. At least 180 parties have ratified the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which sets targets for reducing green house gas emissions and seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures. "The planet is becoming an oven, our natural resources are being exhausted, biodiversity is melting like snow in the sun and it's not always dealt with like a priority issue".

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