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French ecology chief fired after budget criticism

FILE - In this May 17, 2012 file photo, Environment Minister Delphine Batho arrives for the first weekly cabinet meeting with President Francois Hollande, at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Batho has been fired Tuesday July 2, 2013 after criticizing the environment budget for 2014. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

PARIS (AP) -- France's ecology minister has been fired after publicly criticizing budget cuts to her department and accusing the government of short-changing the environment.

Delphine Batho, a member of the ruling Socialist party, was summoned to the prime minister's office on Tuesday after telling the RTL radio network there had been "doubts about our will to change" to address environmental issues.

A short time later, the president announced her replacement.

In solidarity with Batho's stance, members of the Green Party, who have supported the majority Socialist administration during particularly contentious debates, threatened to withhold their backing for the new minister.

That sets up a potential battle at a time when France's government is trying to cut spending.