Nicolas Hulot stunned the hosts of his live radio interview Tuesday by declaring his resignation in protest of the French president's environmental policy. Mr Hulot, 62, has been described as the French equivalent of Sir David Attenborough.
Recruiting Hulot to his government had been a coup for Macron, who has sought to position France as a champion in the fight against environmental degradation and as a counterweight to the climate change attitudes of U.S. President Donald Trump.
"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.
French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Nicolas Hulot leaves the Elysee Palace after the weekly cabinet meeting, on August 22, 2018 in Paris.
In a speech to French ambassadors on Monday, Macron said he would put forward new proposals to the EU to boost security and that all European nations, including Russian Federation, should be involved in discussions on defence cooperation.
Hulot, a high-profile former journalist and environmental activist, said he quit in frustration at the lack of progress on climate change and other environmental threats.
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Later in the day, during a state visit to Denmark, Macron called his minister's surprising move a "personal decision". That approach has been tested after Trump shunned Macron and other allies, pulling out of a global climate pact, imposing extraterritorial sanctions on Iran, and imposing tariffs on European Union steel and aluminium. "He didn't win all his battles but that's the way it goes for ministers".
"Since day one I have considered Daesh to be our principal enemy, and I have never made the ousting of Bashar al-Assad a condition of our diplomatic or humanitarian action in Syria", he said.
"I think it is unusual if we put Denmark in a position where we participate in the tough actions in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or through different alliances and then when we should invest in stabilization and rebuilding countries, Denmark has to withdraw", he said.
Hulot said he feared that his "most painful" decision would only make things worse for the environment, but expressed hope that "my departure will prompt a deep introspection of our society on the reality of the world".
Macron has championed the fight against climate change on the worldwide stage, vowing to #MakeThePlanetGreatAgain after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate deal. The other is the interior minister, who leads the police and France's domestic fight against terrorism. "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". That's the conclusion of left-wing lawmaker Jean-Luc Melenchon, who described the move as a sign the political movement that swept Macron into power past year is "beginning its decomposition".