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'Stop car-ping': French ecology minister defends his nine motorized vehicles

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'Stop car-ping': French ecology minister defends his nine motorized vehicles
12:35 CET+01:00
France's Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot has come under fire after it emerged he owns no less than nine motorised vehicles including six cars, a boat, a scooter and a motorbike - not the kind of possessions you would associate with France's best-known environmental campaigner.
Hulot, who became a household name in France when he worked as a documentary filmmaker, was forced to defend himself against what he described as "absurd" criticism after details of his collection of vehicles were made public at the weekend.
 
The embarrassing revelation came after France's high authority for transparency in public life published details of each minister's wealth and possessions.
 
It emerged that Hulot, who has a fortune of €7.3 million which he said he built up through his TV work was one of 11 millionaire French ministers.
 
That fact has only given fuel to critics of President Emmanuel Macron who label him the "president of the rich".
 
But for Hulot it was his vast fleet of vehicles, worth €105,000 that drew criticism, rather than his wealth.
 
In all, Hulot owns nine motorised vehicles including six cars, a scooter, a motor boat and a motorbike.
 
Among the vehicles he owns is a 20-year-old 4x4 Landrover, a 30-year-old Citroen 2CV and Volkswagen van.
 
Also among his other vehicles is his wife's personal car, a van for transporting horses, which he keeps in Brittany, a BMW motorbike and a small motorboat.
 
He also owns an electric BMW car.
 
Hulot insists he never uses his 4x4, which is parked on his property in Corsica. He says his Volkswagen van is just for family holidays and the Citroen 2 CV is his daughter's car.
 
The minister insisted that "95 percent of the time" he drives electric vehicles, including an electric scooter and the cars made available to him as minister, which he uses for official visits.
 
"Transparency yes, voyeurism and hair-splitting, no," was how Hulot reacted to the controversy of his fleet of motor vehicles.
 
But despite Hulot's wealth and array of personal transport options he was not actually the richest minister.
 
That crown went to Muriel Pénicaud, the labour minister, who has a fortune worth €7.5 million. Other millionaire ministers include Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and Health Minister Agnes Buzyn.
 
But not all of France's ministers are loaded.
 
The budget minister Gérald Darmanin declared wealth of €48,000. The average wealth of households in France is €158,000, according to Le Monde newspaper.
 
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