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What the papers said 18 May 2018

rfi English, May 18

France awaits Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot's "Marshall Plan" to rescue the country’s endangered biodiversity.

The papers are all looking forward to the Marseille unveiling of Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot's big bang on the protection of French biodiversity which he claims is facing extinction if there isn't a "sudden burst of indignation on the part of the population".

Le Parisien reports that the minister told lawmakers during Wednesday's session of parliament how ashamed he felt to see the inhabitants of the planet look away while the world's flora and fauna disappear.

According to the paper, the national mobilisation strategy Hulot is due to publish is to be subjected to wide consultations starting in July on how best to safeguard France's biodiversity heritage which it describes as rich of 16500 species, four-fifths of which are in the overseas territories.

L'Alsace expresses regret that several ambitious projects presented by Ministers from across the political spectrum in the past never saw the light of day, due to the fact that they were impracticable.

The publication argues that at a time when the EU is seeking punitive measures against France for doing little to tackle air pollution Paris ought to stop presenting white elephant projects and concentrate its attention on concrete visible and effective actions.

La Montagne/Centre France argues that such initiatives could include a ban on soil enrichment, pesticides, the decimation of bees, the fragmentation of natural parks and the protection of France's bird population. That it says can be done if the tug of war pitting the Environment minister and his Agriculture counterpart over so-called economic interests is brought to an end.

La Charente libre underlines the paradox that it is France, the engine of the self-proclaimed battle against climate change and the emblematic Minister Nicolas Hulot who stand accused of acting too little and too late to catch up a decade lost towards respecting European anti-pollution norms.

Le Républicain lorrain expresses doubt at Nicolas Hulot's ability to remain in President Emmanuel Macron's government if it continues with business as usual.

Le Monde comments about the populist threat facing Italy as the anti-system 5-Star Movement and the Far right sovereignist Northern League put final touches on their so-called "Contract for a Government of Change".

The newspaper claims that the founding member of the EU could find itself in a matter of days under a government of Eurosceptics, a scenario that would threaten the fundamentals of European construction.

According to Le Monde, the challenge posed by the two allies is not only aimed at the technocratic set up in Brussels but a full-fledged attack on Europe, the world's leading commercial bloc.

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