Minister congratulates girls who played truant!

The brand new Flemish energy minister, Lydia Peeters, has congratulated the girls who organised the "Play truant for the climate" protest via Facebook in Brussels last week.  Some 3,000 schoolchildren stayed away from school to take part in the demo in Brussels on Thursday.

Lydia Peeters told the girls live on Flemish TV: "My 13-year-old daughter didn't or hasn't yet taken part and I wouldn’t want her to play truant, but in this instance I believe it was in favour of a higher good.”

Anuna De Wever and Kyra Gantois, the two 17-year-olds behind the demo, have been invited to meet Flemish government ministers next Wednesday! Ms Peeters pointed to government achievements in the field of energy efficiency, renewables and green cars, but Anuna and Kyra insist more needs to be done: "We are the country with the highest number of environmental rules, but we perform poorly compared with other EU nations. We need to reopen the discussion with the experts, because clearly something is not working. We can't continue our life of luxury at this rate."

The girls deny they have any political ambitions just yet: their initiative "Youth for climate" remains apolitical!