French environment minister on crusade against fossil fuels owns six cars
For a man on a mission to ban petrol- and diesel-guzzling cars, French environment Minister Nicolas Hulot is himself strangely fond of combustion engine vehicles – he has no fewer than eight of them.
His green credentials have been sorely tested after his fleet was revealed this weekend when the assets of President Emmanuel Macron’s ministers were published by High Authority for Transparency in Public Office (HATVP).
Mr Hulot, who last summer announced that France will outlaw the sale of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, has a Land Rover he keeps at his holiday home in Corsica, a 30-year-old 2CV, a Peugeot, a Citroen, a Volkswagen camper van and a BMW.
He also has two more means of transport powered by engines that use fossil fuel that pollutes the environment – a motorboat and a BMW motorbike.
The minister sought to brush off the revelations by saying on Sunday that he travels in electric cars that belong to his ministry or on electric scooters "95 percent of the time" and that accusations that he was not practising what he preaches were “absurd.”
“I am all for transparency, but I am not for voyeurism or hair-splitting,” he said.
The obligatory publication of ministers’ wealth also revealed that more than a third of President Macron’s cabinet are millionaires, which is likely to do little to dispel accusations that the head of state is the "president of the rich."
Mr Hulot, a former television host whose status in France is akin to that of David Attenborough in Britain, is the second richest of all the ministers with assets totalling €7.2 million (£6.3 million).
His house in Corsica is worth more than a million euros, he co-owns properties in Brittany and Savoie worth €1.9 million euros, has a television company worth €3.1 million, and has savings and investments worth €1.17 million.
Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud, who this autumn piloted Mr Macron’s controversial labour reforms through parliament, is the richest of the 32 ministers, with declared assets of €7.5 million.
It emerged last summer that Ms Pénicaud had made more than a million euros in a single day by selling shares whose value soared due to a redundancy programme she oversaw while working for the global food giant Danone.
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