EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has apologised for saying that youth activists are suffering from 'Greta syndrome'. The comments did not sit well with many social media users and world leaders who distanced themselves from the statement and even outright condemned it.
Borell in an interview had said that young school students had made Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg their hero without realizing that her proposals would have a great cost on the economy.
What is this @GretaThunberg Syndrome that the High Representative of the EU has identified? When @JosepBorrellF refers to young people demonstrating on #FridaysForFuture in demeaning terms, is he speaking on behalf of the @EU_Commission? This is my priority question: pic.twitter.com/MKBcSq1Lr9— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) February 6, 2020
The comments of the High Representative of the EU @JosepBorrellF on the youth movements for climate are unacceptable for a representative of the EU. We'll be asking for a full explanation from him next week.#fridaysforfuture #climatestrike #climatecrisispic.twitter.com/k9wLAMIkm0— Greens/EFA in the EU Parliament 🌍 (@GreensEFA) February 7, 2020
"Greta syndrome"?— Joe Brew (@joethebrew) February 7, 2020
EU High Rep Josep Borrell thinks young people calling for climate action are stupid and greedy.
Is this the position of the EU, @vonderleyen?
Or is it just the position of the man you've chosen to represent the EU to the world? pic.twitter.com/vpHQxWUz6N
Borell, 72, said on Wednesday that this idealisation of Greta Thunberg can be called 'Greta Syndrome'. Borell apologised for his remarks on Saturday and tweeted in English that he did not mean to offend.
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
According to some reports, tackling climate change and pledging to spend billions of euros a year towards its Green Deal with the goal of making the EU climate change neutral by 2050 is a primary goal for the commission.