Chief EU diplomat draws ire for declaring 'women learning to play football as well as men'

Catalan feminism minister calls on Borrell to "check his sexism"

Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell in Brussels last month
Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell in Brussels last month / Courtesy of the EU
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

August 23, 2023 03:39 PM

August 23, 2023 04:25 PM

Only days after Spain's Women's World Cup win was marred by a non-consensual kiss, chief EU diplomat Josep Borrell's comments have sparked further controversy.

In an interview with Spanish public broadcaster TVE on Wednesday, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security celebrated Spain's victory by declaring that "our women are learning to play football as well as men."

The Spanish Socialist, under fire in the past for unfortunate remarks, also compared Olga Carmona's goal on Sunday to Andrés Iniesta's winning goal in the 2010 South Africa tournament. "It's very good news," Borrell said.

Commenters were quick to criticize Borrell's remarks, including Catalan feminism minister Tània Verge

Comparing it to the time Borrell said "four Indians were killed in America," Verge took to social media to call on him to "check his sexism and racism."

"Your comments are unworthy of an EU High Representative," the Catalan minister wrote. 

Verge was far from the only social media user to condemn Borrell's comments. 

Aleix Clarió, an advisor to former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, accused the diplomat of "deeply denigrating European values and institutions."

Journalist Fonsi Loaiza, meanwhile, complained that Borrell "earns €26,300 a month and has been paid a public sector salary for 33 years." 

Another X user, Manel Márquez, questioned "how such a foolish man could be a diplomat."

Borrell has not apologized for his comments but wrote on social media that "the victory of the Spanish team in the World Cup shows that this is the time for women."

"Our champions have taken another step forward towards full equality and for this victory, I am doubly proud."