May 16, 2018 / 8:18 AM / 4 months ago

French minister Hulot to decide this summer on whether to stay in government

PARIS (Reuters) - French environment and energy minister Nicolas Hulot said he will decide this summer as to whether or not he remains a government minister, and did not exclude leaving if there is no clear government pledge to environmentally-friendly policies.

French Minister of Ecological and Social Transition Nicolas Hulot leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Hulot - a former ecological activist, TV presenter and one of France’s most popular personalities - joined President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government in May last year.

He has fought to reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture and to speed up France’s energy transition, but his impact on government policy so far has been limited.

Last year, Hulot himself had to announce Macron had dropped his election platform vow to cut the share of nuclear power in French electricity to 50 percent by 2025, from 75 percent today.

Asked whether he agreed with the government’s environmental policies and whether he would follow up on earlier threats to leave the government, Hulot said on BFM Television that he was not satisfied and that a lot was left to be done.

“This summer we will take stock, with the President and the Prime Minister, it will be a moment of truth. ... If I feel that there is no progress I will draw my conclusions ... I am capable of leaving,” he told BFM TV on Wednesday.

Hulot - who has repeatedly said that state-controlled utility EDF needs to close several nuclear reactors and make a massive switch to renewable energy - made no comments regarding nuclear energy.

A government-organised public debate about nuclear, which has received hardly any media coverage so far, is due to formulate recommendations on nuclear policy this summer.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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