On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Francois Hollande sacked his environment minister Delphine Batho over her criticism of his new budget policy.
Batho is the first minister to be dismissed under Hollande’s Socialist government. The new budget will introduce cuts of €14 billion (£12 bn), including cuts of 7 percent to the environment department.
Finance minister Pierre Moscovici, who devised the new budget, has said more cuts will follow next year. Batho was sacked for breaking rules dictating that no minster should criticise government policy; she said the new budget represented a “bad” deal for her department and recommended introducing ‘environmental taxes’ or investments, rather than cutting departmental spending.
However, French greens have accused Hollande’s government of operating “double standards,” pointing out that there are other ministers who have spoken out against policy decisions in the past and survived in their posts. Pascal Durand, national secretary of the Green Party, railed against Hollande’s decision on Tuesday. He said Batho’s honesty “Is good for democracy.” He criticised the government for assuming “everyone must be silent and walk in step.”
Batho will be replaced by Philippe Martin, French officials said on Wednesday.
Although France is pursuing a policy of cuts to reduce its budget deficit, President Hollande has also introduced tax rises in a bid to mitigate the austerity package.
(Source – http://www.farming.co.uk/news/article/8584)