PARIS (Reuters) - Fed up with what they say is a disregard for the environment by French President Emmanuel Macron, three top environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) boycotted a key meeting with the government on Tuesday.
FNE, an association of 3,500 French environmental groups, said in a statement they refused to attend because of what they said was the government's lack of environmental action and closeness to farming, hunting and other lobbies.
The National Council of Ecological Transition (CNTE), a consultative body made up of unions, employers organisations, NGOs and government officials, on Tuesday reviewed a series of legislative proposals, including one on relaxing a ban on the use of pesticides. Some other NGOs did attend the meeting.
"Since the start of Macron's mandate, there have been lots of lovely speeches about climate and environment, but very little action and in fact a lot of regression," said Arnaud Schwartz, the head of France Nature Environnement (FNE).
The environment ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Allain Bougrain Dubourg, president of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), said there was a complete disconnect between good intentions professed by the government and the reality on the ground.
He said the boycott was not aimed at new Environment Minister Barbara Pompili but at the president.
"Macron does not hunt, but somehow the hunting lobby has managed to make him believe that if he wants to appeal to rural France he needs to give presents to the hunters," Dubourg said.
He denounced a government decree that will again allow the hunting of turtle doves, a protected species, as well as the decision to suspend controversial glue trapping of songbirds for a year rather than banning it.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Gareth Jones)