Europe is facing an ‘Arab invasion’, Pope Francis mused while addressing a French Christian group, adding that the trend is actually a positive one.
“We can speak today of Arab invasion. It is a social fact,” the pontiff said, according to extracts from his address earlier this week which were published by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on Thursday.
He then added: “How many invasions has Europe experienced in the course of its history! But it’s always been able to overcome them and move forward, finding itself complimented and improved by the cultural exchange they brought about.”
The Pontiff also reflected on the history of migration into Europe and the positive impact it has had on European culture as we now know it.
The Pope also declared that Europe is “the only continent that can bring some unity to the world”. He then added, that in order to fulfill its “universal role”, Europe must “rediscover its cultural roots”.
Europe continues struggling with an unseen influx of asylum seekers. The number of Syrians seeking asylum doubled to 362,800 last year and the number of Iraqis jumped to 121,500, as the European Commission said Friday.
This news came after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused Austria and other Balkan countries of “killing Europe” by imposing border restrictions in a move that’s led to an approximate 30,000 asylum seekers now being stranded across Greece.
“What those countries agreed on and decided goes against all of the rules and against the whole of Europe and we regard it as an unfriendly move,” Tsipras said in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper. “It cannot be that after something is adopted at an EU summit, some decide to simply close their borders. These countries are killing Europe!”
In the course of the past 2 weeks, an enormous makeshift refugee camp has sprung up on the Greek border with Macedonia, after the latter stopped letting in migrants following the so-called ‘Balkan route’ into Europe.
Over 11 thousand people are now waiting for Macedonia to reopen its border so they could move forward into Europe and seek asylum there, the most craved destination being Germany. The country, which has accepted over one million refugees in 2015, has been an outspoken supporter of mandatory migrant quotas for EU member states.
Pope Francis/ Photo: Tony Gentile / RT/ Reuters