The pontiff urged European leaders to keep the unity they showed in the fight against coronavirus outbreak that transformed into the existential choice for the EU.
In his speech on the eve of an EU summit, Pope Francis has stressed the importance of “this fraternal unity of which the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed”. The pontiff added that the current health crisis has put new strains on the unity of the 27-member bloc, again exposing splits between the richer north and the poorer south.
“In these times in which we need so much unity among us, among nations, let us pray today for Europe,” Francis said at the start of his daily morning Mass, which he dedicates each day to a different theme related to the global crisis.
In fact, the Pope’s words about the European unity made to rethink the status of affairs inside the bloc. Being the vocal supporter of the EU, Francis had expressed concern about the bloc for the second time in 10 days. Pontiff’s recent warning on it was expressed on Easter Sunday.
According to Pope Francis, European Union risked collapse if it did not agree on how to recover together. Over recent months, the coronacrisis has naked the most vulnerable places od the bloc, financial and social.
EU hopes the next summit will ease the tensions caused by the coronacrisis
Amid the novel virus outbreak, the EU’s fiscally conservative northern nations remain keen to keep a tight rein on spending and have rejected calls from the ailing southern states for a joint debt – or ‘coronabonds’ – to fund the recovery.
EU leaders to hold a video summit on April 23, however, all 27 nations have clashed repeatedly over financial responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, on issues from sharing PPE to cushioning the immediate economic hit.
The bloc has relaxed state aid rules and limits on public spending as well as unlocking a half-a-trillion euro rescue plan.
Despite all efforts, the group of EU countries believe that is not enough and call for more solidarity, casting the challenge as an existential choice for the EU.