EU high official forced to apologize for insulting young climate activists
Monday, 10 February 2020
The European Commission distanced itself today from its foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell. Last week the 72-old Spanish official said that he doubted that young people were seriously committed in fighting climate change.
In particular, he disparaged Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and called the protests the “Greta syndrome”.
“I would like to know if young people demonstrating in Berlin calling for measures against climate change are aware of what such measures will cost them,” Borrell said, “and if they are willing to lower their living standards to offer compensation to Polish miners, because if we fight against climate change for real they will lose their jobs and will have to be subsidized.”
Why he interfered in the climate change debate is not clear in the first place. As High Representative and Vice-President of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as his full title reads, he is supposed to issue statement on behalf of the EU member states on foreign affairs.
Borrell’s statement on climate change contradicts EU’s own policy on climate neutrality by 2050. In fact, Poland and its coal miners will be compensated by the new European Green Deal for reducing green-house-gas emissions.
In the middle of a hectic week of high-level diplomacy in Tehran, Amman and Washington, Borrell scrambled to control the damage by his unfortunate statement and issued a statement on Friday to explain himself, followed by a full apology on Saturday.
Just coming back from US trip, and I want to apologise to anyone that may have felt offended by my inappropriate reference to the important youth movement fighting #climatechange