World Pope Francis pays official visit to Strasbourg

Pope Francis pays official visit to Strasbourg

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

(AA) – Pope Francis will address the European Parliament and the Council of Europe on Tuesday, as part of a four-hour official visit to Strasbourg.

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis will be speaking about Europe’s main issues, such as high unemployment rates and immigration.

The last visit by a sovereign pontiff to the European Parliament was 26 years ago on Oct. 8, 1988, when Pope Jean Paul II delivered an address just one year before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz invited the Pope when he paid an official visit to the Vatican on Oct. 11, 2013, a press release issued by the Parliament said.

“We are very honored and proud to receive Pope Francis in the European Parliament. Through his speech to the European Parliament, he will have the opportunity to address the millions of citizens represented by our members,” Schulz said ahead of the visit.

The Pope will also speak to the Council of Europe before returning to Rome.

The Council of Europe is an international organization that promotes democratic values. It is separate from the EU.

Following his second speech, Pope Francis will meet with officials including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

Pope Francis will also meet with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, as Italy currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

The 77-year old pontiff will travel to Turkey on Friday for a three-day visit to lead the Nov. 30th Saint Andrew’s Day celebrations.

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