Macron cabinet shuffle leads to environmental concerns

The president's cabinet shuffle is considered unsatisfactory, mostly because of the appointment of Emmanuelle Wargon, former Head of PR at Danone, one of the world’s largest polluters, as Secretary of State for Ecological and Inclusive Transition.

Sara Saidi
Sara Saidi NewsMavens, France
Macron cabinet shuffle leads to environmental concerns - NewsMavens
Emmanuelle Wargon, YouTube

Why this story matters:

Two months ago, the French minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Nicolas Hulot, announced his resignation to show his disagreement with the French government's environmental policy. The move did not bring about the expected results.

Emmanuelle Wargon, a former high-ranking employee of super-polluter Danone, took over Hulot's position. Also, Didier Guillaume, who is in favor of pesticides like glyphosate, was named Minister of Agriculture.

In a controversial speech, Guillaume stated that there was no scientific evidence that warranted discontinuing the use of pesticides. His words were not well received, especially since they followed several births of babies with severe limb deformities in different areas of France. The French National Public Health Agency said there was no connection between these malformations and the use of pesticides, but still many politicians denounced Guillaume’s speech. (Esther Benbassa, senator and member of the Green Party, introduced him as Minister of Pesticides.)

Emmanuelle Wargon is widely seen as a lobbyist. Last July, she claimed palm oil should be used in baby formula because it makes the product more similar to breast milk. Moreover, Danone came fourth in a ranking of producers of plastic waste. Wargon declared she would not tackle the plastic waste issue to avoid conflicts of interests. 

Details from the story:

  • On August 28, Nicolas Hulot, French Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, announced his resignation during a radio program on France Inter.
  • He denounced the French government's environmental policy.
  • On October 16, after a cabinet shuffle, Didier Guillaume, who is in favor of pesticides, became Minister of Agriculture.
  • Emmanuelle Wargon, former head of Public Relations of Danone, became Secretary of State for Ecological and Inclusive Transition.
  • The opposition denounced the positions and power of lobbyists within the government.
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