BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union should spend hundreds of billions of euros combating climate change during the next decade, its chief executive said on Thursday, responding to a Swedish teen who has inspired a global movement of children against global warming.
In a speech alongside 16-year-old Greta Thunberg in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for suggesting climate change was “invented” and “ideological”.
“In the next financial period from 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards action to mitigate climate change,” Juncker said of his proposal for the EU budget, which is typically 1 percent of the bloc’s economic output, or 1 trillion euros ($1.13 trillion) over seven years.
“Mr. Trump and his friends believe that climate change is something that has just been invented and its an ideological concept, but … something dangerous is already underway,” Juncker said.
Thunberg was in Brussels to join a seventh week of demonstrations by Belgian children skipping school to protest against global warming.
More than 10,000 students, some holding up banners saying “stop denying the earth is dying”, protested across Belgium on Thursday, including in Brussels and the western city of Ghent.