European Union

Pope urges EU to help migrants

Pope Francis
Pope Francis REUTERS/Tony Gentile

On a visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg in France, the Pope urged lawmakers to help the thousands of migrants who try to reach EU shores.


“There needs to be a united response to the question of migration. We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast cemetery! The boats landing daily on the shores of Europe are filled with men and women who need acceptance and assistance,” he said.

It was the first papal visit to the French city since John Paul 11 in 1988 and there was tight security.

The visit sparked some demonstrations from protestors who were angry at the decision by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, to invite a religious leader to address a secular body.

Schultz reminded critics that other religious leaders have already spoken before the European Parliament, including the Dalai Lama.

He has also pointed out that Pope Francis is not only a religious leader but also a Head of State, as The Vatican is officially a state within Italy.

Welcoming the Pope, Schultz said the visit was important at a time when the economic crisis had caused a “tremendous loss of confidence in European institutions.”

The Pope called upon Europe to re discover its leadership role.

“We encounter a general impression of weariness and ageing, of a Europe which is now a ‘grandmother’, no longer fertile and vibrant”, he said, adding “The time has come for us to abandon the idea of a Europe which is fearful and absorbed, in order to revive and encourage a Europe of leadership.”

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