‘Greta syndrome’: Brussels forced to apologize TWICE after EU foreign policy chief dares to dismiss youth climate activism


By Helen Buyniski, RT

A European Commission spokesperson has flung herself on the public’s mercy days after the EU foreign policy chief had committed (and apologized for) the unpardonable sin of referring to youth climate activism as “Greta syndrome.”

EC spokeswoman Dana Spinant begged for forgiveness during a news conference on Monday, addressing the digital lynch mobs still raging over foreign policy head Josep Borrell’s comment dismissing children’s willingness to protest for “green” reforms during a debate last week. The Spanish politician argued the young activists were not aware of the consequences for their standard of living, branding the phenomenon a naive, privilege-spawned “Greta syndrome.”

Borrell’s comments were “inappropriate,” Spinant said, insisting all commissioners were wholly on board with young campaigners against climate change. She referred those whose rage remained unquenched to an apologetic tweet from Borrell himself, posted Saturday: “We hope with that tweet…the situation is clarified.”

It is fine to demonstrate for climate change as long as you are not asked to contribute to pay for it,” Borrell said last Wednesday in Brussels in a video that has since become notorious. The European diplomat suggested that the throngs of young people taking to the streets to protest climate change might not be so enthusiastic if they knew what sacrifices they would have to make with regard to their standard of living in order to compensate “Polish miners” and others whose ways of life would be adversely affected by the new green future.

To be successful, we also need to tackle social and economic costs of the transition with Just Transition Mechanism. (2) #EUGreenDealhttps://t.co/bzOc14eV17

— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) February 7, 2020

Referencing the name of the now-iconic child of privilege who has become the face of the youth climate movement merely put the cherry on top of this particular outrage sundae.

The idea that young people are seriously committed to climate change – we could call it the ‘Greta syndrome’ – allow me to doubt that.

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

— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) February 8, 2020

Borrell took to Twitter to post multiple apologies in the following days, deferring to the “important youth movement fighting #climatechange,” but his contrition was no match for the multilingual rage coming his way on the platform.

That you were told your mealy mouthed apologies weren’t good enough and got a proper one drafted doesn’t change the fact that Europe needs a safe pair of hands in charge of security and foreign policy and, with you as HRVP, Europe won’t sleep at night, to paraphrase your ex-boss.

— barbaryfigs (@milfordedge) February 8, 2020

Really ?Stop it, stop it.Shame on you. I thought Europe could get rid of Mr. Juncker’s @JunckerEU excesses but it is clear now that you are trying to follow them, with some drinking difficulties. Sincerely Yours.

— Pandereta de País (@nosempresono) February 7, 2020

Commenters who called for his resignation and denounced “fascist” Spain clearly had more on their minds than his comments about the pint-sized activist. Several brought up his opposition to Catalonian independence, and his use of the term “disinfect” to describe his preferred approach to the region.

To him Greta is a disease (a Syndrome) and Pro-Independence Catalans are an infection. This person is totally unfit for public service.

— Eduair🎗 (@Eduair) February 7, 2020

But it wasn’t just social media that wanted Borrell’s head on a plate for casting aspersions on the climate change movement. German Green MEP Reinhard Butikofer demanded “a very clear apology” on behalf of the “youth climate movement,” charging Borrell with making statements “counter of the policy of the EU.”  And his fellow EC officials couldn’t run from his words fast enough – spokesman Eric Mamer declared on Friday that the entire commission backed the European Green Deal, “which acknowledges and supports the ambitions of young and less young people to combat climate change.”

The EU aims to go “carbon neutral” by 2050 with an ambitious – and costly – plan that will require wealthier European nations to pony up some €100 billion in aid to poorer nations to ease the transition to a low-emissions economy.

One thing is certain – not even the unelected, seemingly unaccountable bureaucrats at the helm of the EU are permitted to criticize Saint Greta. Borrell is lucky he got off with just a warning.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here