French environment minister resigns after being accused of spending tax payers money on lavish dinners

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Emmanuel Macron’s environment minister, François de Rugy, Tuesday announced his resignation after coming under fire over allegations that he spent taxpayers’ money on lavish dinners and home renovations.

De Rugy was spearheading the government’s various environmental reforms, including boosting climate targets as well as reducing waste and reliance on nuclear energy. His ministry last week also announced a tax on flight tickets, aimed at decreasing the sector’s emissions.

De Rugy has come under fire for his use of public money after Mediapart reported last Wednesday that he hosted opulent dinners featuring lobster and €550 bottles of wine while he was president of the French parliament between October 2017 and June 2018.

Responding to the report, he said last week he “totally stands by” having organized “a dozen informal dinners” with “guests of civil society,” saying they helped inform his work as president. There were “no dinners with friends,” he said.

Calls for him to resign last week were brushed aside by the government, with spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye saying that de Rugy retained the trust of the president and the prime minister.


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