Pope Francis Urges European Countries To Welcome Migrants | EUROtoday

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MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Pope Francis challenged French President Emmanuel Macron and different European leaders to open their ports to folks fleeing hardship and poverty, insisting Saturday that the continent is not going through a migration “emergency” however reasonably a long-term actuality that governments should take care of humanely.

For a second straight day within the French port metropolis of Marseille, Francis took purpose at European international locations which have used “alarmist propaganda” to justify closing their doorways to migrants, and tried to disgrace them into responding with charity as an alternative. He known as for migrants to have authorized pathways to citizenship, and for the Mediterranean Sea that so many cross to succeed in Europe to be a beacon of hope, not a graveyard of desperation.

The Mediterranean, Francis instructed Macron and a gathering of regional bishops, “cries out for justice, with its shores that on the one hand exude affluence, consumerism and waste, while on the other there is poverty and instability.”

Pope Francis is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron as he arrives at the final session of the "Mediterranean Meetings" meeting at the Palais du Pharo, in Marseille, France, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023.
Pope Francis is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron as arrives on the ultimate session of the “Rencontres Mediterraneennes” assembly on the Palais du Pharo, in Marseille, France, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023.

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

The pope’s go to to the town in southern France, which drew an estimated 150,000 well-wishers Saturday, comes as Italy’s far right-led authorities has reacted to a brand new wave of arriving migrants by threatening to arrange a naval blockade of Tunisia and to step up repatriations. The French authorities, for its half, has beefed up patrols on its southern border to cease migrants in Italy from crossing over.

After the bishops’ assembly ended, Macron and Francis held a non-public, half-hour assembly. They spoke about migration points and a sequence of different matters, the French presidency mentioned, including that each leaders share a “joint will” to carry human options to the state of affairs.

France is a “host country” to migrants — particularly to asylum seekers — and is supporting European solidarity insurance policies, together with by way of financing and preventing human trafficking, the French presidency mentioned. The Vatican offered no readout of the assembly.

Macron’s centrist authorities has taken a more durable line on migration and safety points after coming underneath criticism from French conservatives and the far proper. With elections for the European Union’s parliament set for subsequent yr, Macron is pushing for the EU to strengthen its exterior borders and to be extra environment friendly in deporting people who’re denied entry.

Macron greeted Francis on a wind-swept promenade overlooking Marseille’s outdated port, and helped him stroll into the Palais du Pharo for the Mediterranean bishops assembly. With his spouse by his aspect, the French chief listened as a younger Italian volunteer working in Greece and the bishop of Tirana, Albania, who fled to Italy throughout Albania’s communist rule, spoke of the welcomes they obtained in international international locations.

“May we let ourselves be moved by the stories of so many of our unfortunate brothers and sisters who have the right both to emigrate and not to emigrate, and not become closed in indifference,” Francis mentioned. “In the face of the terrible scurge of the exploitation of human beings, the solution is not to reject but to ensure, according to the possibilities of each, an ample number of legal and regular entrances.”

Francis’ two-day journey was scheduled months in the past, however it’s happening as mass migration to Europe is as soon as once more making headlines. Nearly 7,000 migrants who boarded smugglers boats in Tunisia got here ashore on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa inside a day final week, briefly outnumbering the resident inhabitants.

Nevertheless, Francis mentioned speak of a migration “emergency” solely fuels “alarmist propaganda” and Stokes folks’s fears.

“Those who risk their lives at sea do not invade, they look for welcome, for life” he mentioned. “As for the emergency, the phenomenon of migration is not so much a short-term urgency, always good for fueling alarmist propaganda, but a reality of our times.”

In addition to Macron, the pope’s viewers on Saturday included European Commission Vice President Margarítis Schinás, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who mentioned France wouldn’t soak up new migrants from Lampedusa.

The French president and first girl Brigitte Macron later attended Francis’ ultimate Mass on the Marseille Velodrome that drew an estimated 50,000 folks and featured a large banner of the pope hoisted up within the stands. The Vatican, citing native organizers, mentioned 100,000 extra lined Marseilles’ central Avenue du Prado to cheer as his popemobile handed by.

History’s first Latin American pope has made the plight of migrants a precedence of his 10-year hold forth. For his first journey as pope, he traveled to Lampedusa to honor migrants who had drowned whereas making an attempt to cross the ocean.

In the years since, he has celebrated Mass on the US-Mexico border, met with Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees and, in a visual show of his dedication, introduced dwelling 12 Syrian Muslims on his airplane after visiting a refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece.

Migrants and their advocates residing in Marseille, which has a protracted custom of multicultural hospitality, mentioned Francis’ name for charity and paths to citizenship gave them hope that no less than somebody in Europe was sympathetic to their plight.

“It is a very beautiful opportunity for us,” mentioned Francky Domingo, who’s a part of a Marseille-based affiliation representing migrants in search of official identification paperwork. “We really want the pope to be our spokesperson to the politicians because the European policy on migration is very, very repressive for us migrants.”

Francois Thomas, head of the maritime rescue group SOS Mediterranee, mentioned he hoped Francis’ phrases could be heard in European capitals.

“You don’t leave people to drown in the Mediterranean. It is not possible,” Thomas mentioned at Marseilles’ memorial to migrants misplaced at sea.

In his remarks, Francis additionally repeated his opposition to euthanasia, which he has lengthy decried as a symptom of a “throwaway culture” which treats the aged and infirm as dispensable. Listing euthanasia as a “social evil,” he criticized supporters of assisted suicide as offering “false pretenses of a supposedly dignified and ‘sweet’ death that is more ‘salty’ than the waters of the sea.”

The problem is present in France, the place Macron is anticipated within the coming weeks to unveil a invoice that might legalize end-of-life choices in France. French media reported that he delayed the presentation of the measure till after the pope’s go to to maintain the delicate matter from interfering.

No particulars of the federal government’s proposal have been launched, however a number of choices are into consideration, together with legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia for grownup sufferers with incurable situations underneath strict situations that assure their free and knowledgeable consent.

The French presidency mentioned Francis and Macron mentioned the problem throughout their bilateral assembly however did not enter into the small print.

Associated Press faith protection receives assist by way of the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely chargeable for this content material.

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