Belgian minister calls pro-climate demonstrations ‘conspiracy’

This 29 January 2019 satiric video from Belgium is about right-wing Flemish Environment Minister Joke Schauvliege and the big demonstrations in Brussels and elsewhere criticizing her for her lack of measures to stop climate change. A slogan at marches of striking pro-climate students is, in English: ‘Joke is a joke’.

The satiric video is about a supposed new brand of glasses, rose-coloured ‘Joke Schauvliege glasses’. If you put those glasses on, then they will make it look like all these anti-government demonstrations are really in support of the government’s (lack of) policy on climate change.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Flemish minister under fire after dismissing climate demonstrations as ‘conspiracy’

The Flemish environment minister Joke Schauvliege is under attack because of the statements she made last weekend about the massive climate demonstrations in Belgium. In them she suggested that the demonstrations were a conspiracy against her.

A week and a half ago, more than 35,000 students were on strike in Belgium in order to draw attention to the climate issue. Since then, the country is under the spell of climate protests. Last week, for example, about 70,000 people participated in a climate march in Brussels.


Schauvliege said on Saturday at the New Year’s reception of an agribusiness interest group that conservation organizations have “staged” the demonstrations in an attempt to get her out of the saddle. The Belgian secret service, she said, had confirmed the plot against her.

Ms Joke Schauvliege just stopped short of claiming, like United States President Donald Trump, that climate change is supposedly ‘a Chinese communist hoax’. Or of claiming that pro-climate striking students are ‘tools of Putin in Russia’. Or are supposedly paid by Iran, or by Venezuela, or by Cuba. But Ms Schauvliege did go rather far in that direction.

Then she received criticism from all angles. Environmental organizations reacted indignantly. Opposition parties … felt she had to resign due to her “hallucinatory” statements.

The chairman of the youth branch of her party CD & V

a conservative, ‘Christian Democrat’ party

stated that she must “send a very strong signal [retracting her conspiracy theory]”. “Otherwise CD & V is about to lose an entire generation.”


Today Schauvliege apologized. She apologized via Twitter and Belgian media. She had supposedly made her statements in the spur of the moment, at a time when she had slept little. She also had had no direct contact with the secret police. …

[NOS correspondent] Van Hoorn does not expect young people will easily forgive her. “The 17-year-old girl [Anuna De Wever] who is the organiser of the student demonstrations said she had to laugh very loudly, and I think there will be references to this at the next march on signs and banners. As these young people think strongly that environmental ministers make a mess of it.”

Associated Press: Belgian Climate Minister Denounces Protest Marches as Plot.

From The Guardian in Britain:

Belgian minister backtracks on school-strike conspiracy claims

Environment minister Joke Schauvliege says she regrets making false claims

Dutch daily NRC on this: here.

7 thoughts on “Belgian minister calls pro-climate demonstrations ‘conspiracy’

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