Pope Francis listens to a speech during a meeting with refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, Greece, December 5, 2021 | Photo: EPA/LOUISA GOULIAMAKI
Pope Francis listens to a speech during a meeting with refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, Greece, December 5, 2021 | Photo: EPA/LOUISA GOULIAMAKI

The European Commission has said comments made by Pope Francis during a visit to Cyprus and Greece were aimed at "all those" involved in the theme of Europe-bound migration.

Pope Francis "always addresses everybody" when he talks about issues like migration, a spokesperson for the European Commission, Eric Mamer, said on Monday, December 6. The position of the European Commission "is well known," Mamer said, when asked if the pontiff's words – spoken during a recent trip to Cyprus and Greece – were also aimed at Brussels.

"We believe that migration is an issue that requires an effective and fair policy. We have made proposals in this respect, and we hope there will be progress, because it would help the EU deal with the issue in an effective and human way", he said.

'Situation particularly difficult to solve'

"Nobody can be happy with a situation in which people who are trying to reach Europe are in danger. The European Commission stresses how unacceptable it is for authorities to be able to exploit human beings by endangering their lives for political motives. It is a situation that is particularly difficult to solve," noted Mamer, when asked about a recent move to restrict asylum rights at the border with Belarus.

EU budget will not fund walls, fencing

On the same day, the European Union stressed that "the EU budget will not fund walls and barriers" to protect its external borders. The European Commission's spokesman stressed this when he was asked, after reports published on Polish media, whether barriers under construction in Poland and in Baltic countries at the border with Belarus will be funded by the 2022 European budget, for a total of 20 million euros.

 

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