By plane, car, train or maybe by bike – we check how the Spanish deputy prime minister got to the informal meeting of EU environment ministers. She was accused of hypocrisy and publicity.
Posted on social media recording with the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenges Teresa Ribera riding a bike, it quickly went viral. Why? According to the message from social media, she flew to the climate summit by plane (some reported that in a government falcon). She was supposed to leave the airport by car and change to an electric bike for the last 100 meters before the meeting point.
The popular material shows the Deputy Prime Minister pedaling a bicycle in the company of two colleagues. Government limousines drive ahead and behind them.
A wave of criticism and mockery swept through the network. A politician from the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) was accused of hypocrisy and acting for show, just like left-wing parties that take the fight for the environment and climate on their banners. “She flew in a Falcon plane from Madrid to cycle through the streets of Valladolid, and even allowed herself to lecture us about nature conservation” – he concluded. Ribera, who heads the structures of the opposition party Vox in the province of Castile and Leon Juan Garcia Gallardo. He sarcastically advised her to return to the capital by plane after visiting Valladolid. And it is worth adding that on July 23 in Spain there will be early parliamentary elections.
“They will limit our freedom, standard of living and travel opportunities, but they will not be affected” – he commented on Twitter Andrew Bringen, one of the English MPs of the small Reclaim Party. The case was also commented on by public figures and social media accounts with millions of reach. “Do you think she packed the bike on a private plane?” – He asked psychologist and author Dr. Jordan B. Peterson on Twitter. “According to reports, she only cycled 100 meters” – he stated Sean Hannity of Fox News.
He also commented on the video on his own telegram famous Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Soloviev.
Also in Poland, video quickly became popular. It was from him that MEP Patryk Jaki began his work video published on Twitter, and intended to mockingly show “how leftists are fighting for the climate” on several examples. “I have a riddle for you,” he asked. “He flies a plane from Falcon to Madrid, then gets on a bicycle to go, accompanied by two cars, to the climate summit, doing a show for the media. Who is he?” he asked and quickly replied: “It’s Teresa Ribera, the left-wing Spanish deputy prime minister.”
“Teresa Ribera, the Spanish Minister for Climate, flew to the meeting by private jet, a cavalcade of limousines, and pedaled the last 100 meters in front of the cameras on an eco-bike” – such a comment appeared in turn on the Twitter account Wojciech Cejrowski (Original spelling of all entries). “Hypocrisy”; “Clopping for show”; “This is how PR is done”; “complete idiocracy”; “hypocrites and liars”; “It’s so surreal” – commented Polish Internet users.
The Polish Press Agency published a telegram, which she titled: “She came to the climate summit by bicycle, but before that she flew by plane. “What hypocrisy! The Spanish deputy prime minister wanted to show that she was eco-friendly. Something went wrong…” – the portal titled its text TVP Info.
We checked how the Spanish politician got to Valladoid and to her final destination.
The Spanish ministry denies: not a plane, but a hybrid car
Contrary to the message from the network, between July 10 and 11, there was no climate summit in Valladolid, Spain, and informal meeting of EU environment ministers. It was organized by Spain, which is currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the fifth time.
A few hours after the publication of the material with the deputy prime minister riding a bicycle, the ministry, which it manages, in response to questions from Maltida.es, reported that Ribera arrived in Valladolid on July 9 by train. Two hours later, the ministry referred to the messages spreading on Twitter on Twitter. “Stop the lies. The Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenges denies fake news spread by public officials, which are clearly spread in bad faith. Teresa Ribera did not arrive in Valladolid on an informal meeting of EU environment ministers on a commercial or government plane. Please check the information disseminated” – it was written. However, a day later, on July 11, this resort replied to the portal Maltida.es that Ribera did not reach Valladolid by train, but by a hybrid car. It was the rest of the delegation who would arrive by train.
Spanish journalists reported that they were unable to check if Ribera arrived at the meeting by car, which would take her about 2.5 hours from Madrid. We asked the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition for material proof that Ribera covered the route to Valladolid by car, e.g. mileage. We are waiting for answer.
The deputy prime minister couldn’t fly the Falcon
Falcon – contrary to what Patryk Jaki said in the recording – is not a city in Spain from which Ribera was supposed to set off. It is one of the Spanish government planes. Spanish journalists checked in the network run by a private person flight log military, government and royal machines that there is only one July flight to Valladolid, and that is a military flight. It started on July 10 at 10:57. The Falcon took off from Madrid and landed at 11:38 am in Valladolid. However, the deputy prime minister could not be on board because she was already there at the time, as evidenced by the publication of a photo with her on a bicycle. The photo was published by the ministry on July 10 at 10:37, so an hour before the plane landed. The meeting of EU ministers was scheduled to start at 10, which will be discussed shortly.
However, Newtral.es sources in the Spanish Air Force said that the military aircraft visible in the flight log did not actually land in Valladolid, but only on July 10 it was carrying out exercises near the airport there. Flight tracking tool FlightAware reports that the machine made three flights at very low altitude at a speed of over 200 kilometers per hour. Interestingly, its call sign indicated that the Deputy Prime Minister of Spain was on board. We confirmed this by checking the data of Flightradar – another tool for tracking flights, as well as the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation – Eurocontrol. This year, none of the Spanish government, royal or military aircraft landed in Valladolid once. Thus, the information from the flight log kept by a private person is wrong.
She cycled at least 850 meters
Spanish journalists also checked the message from social media that Teresa Ribera cycled only the last 100 meters to the meeting place of ministers. The recording shows a politician riding a rented bicycle with the number 5068. The Ministry provided journalists with a record of the rental of the vehicle with this number. It shows that the bike was rented on July 10 at 9:31 from the station in Plaza Zorilla, and returned at 10:10 am at the station at Plaza Poniente. Next to it is the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art, where the meeting of EU ministers took place.
Checking the publicly available video materials of the deputy prime minister’s bicycle ride, Spanish journalists determined that she rode about 850 meters. However, they were unable to verify how Ribera covered the initial 300 meters from the hotel to the station where she rented the bike. The Ministry of Climate declined to provide information on this subject, citing security reasons.
According to published on the web program of the informal summit, the first points on July 10 were scheduled for 9:55 (arrival) and 10:00 (speech).
After the first day of the meeting ended, Ribera posted on her Twitter photowhere you can see him cycling back to the hotel.
To sum up: Valladolid was not a climate summit, but an informal meeting of EU environment ministers. Teresa Ribera did not arrive at the summit on a government plane. The Spanish ministry claims that she came from Madrid in a hybrid car, but has not provided any evidence. It is also not known what means of transport the deputy prime minister used to travel to the station where she rented a bicycle on the day of the meeting. And as it turns out, she drove it a much longer distance than the false message from social media suggests.
Main photo source: Tomasz Gzell/PAP