Blow for French president as Nicolas Hulot quits live on air

Emmanuel Macron says EU unity comes before making a deal with post Brexit Britain

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced Tuesday he was quitting President Emmanuel Macron's government.

Speaking to French radio station France Inter, the Minister for Environment said that he was making the "most hard decision of his life", announcing that he was leaving Government. Mr Hulot, 62, has been described as the French equivalent of Sir David Attenborough.

Recruiting Hulot as a minister 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.

"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".

On Monday, the day before his resignation, the environment minister had to swallow another bitter pill when he took part in a meeting where hunters obtained a reduction of their licence fee as well as a plan that could allow them to hunt protected bird species.

Shortly after his announcement, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said he "regretted" Hulot's exit.

But the former TV presenter and prominent green party politician said his choice - the "most hard decision of my life" - had been steeped in a series of disappointments.

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.

Macron is on a two-day state visit to Denmark along with his wife Brigitte Macron, the first such visit by a French president since 1982, at the invitation of Danish Queen Margrethe II. "He didn't win all his battles but that's the way it goes for ministers".

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Hulot furiously denied the claims and said they had been extremely hurtful for him and his family.

"I hope that my act is not an act of resignation but one of mobilisation", he said.

Speaking in Denmark, Macron defended his government as having "done more than any other on this subject".

But the French leader has been criticized domestically by environmental groups and activists for postponing a campaign promise to cut nuclearenergy's share of electricity production in France to 50 per cent, down from 75 per cent, and for not aggressively tackling issues like the use of pesticides in agriculture.

Trump's "aggressive" isolationism means USA "appears to be turning its back on shared history", French president says.

Despite urging the European Union to become more autonomous, Macron still called for continued talks with the US, stating that USA unilateralism didn't begin under the Trump administration, but followed on from actions taken during the Obama administration.

The well-known presenter of a TV adventure programme, Mr Hulot has campaigned for environmental protection for decades.

"The planet is becoming a sauna, our natural resources are running out, biodiversity is melting like snow in the sun, and it still isn't being handled like a priority issue", he lamented on Tuesday.

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