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Pope Francis has called for Europe to show ‘solidarity’ around the world during the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Christian religious leader made the comments while speaking on a visit to Slovakia — one of the worst-hit countries in Europe.
On his first foreign trip since a colon operation in July, the 84-year-old Argentine pontiff called the pandemic ‘the great test of our own time’.
‘It has taught us how easy it is, even when we are all in the same boat, to withdraw and think only of ourselves,’ he said.
Slovakia, a European Union member with a population of 5.4 million, had the highest per capita Covid-19 contagion and mortality rates in the world for several weeks this year.
‘After long and trying months of pandemic, fully conscious of the difficulties to be faced, we look forward with hope to an economic upturn favoured by the recovery plans of the European Union,’ the pope said in the Slovak capital, Bratislava.
However, he warned against ‘a fleeting sense of euphoria’ and a focus on profits as countries begin to recover and called instead for Europe to display “a solidarity that, by transcending borders, can bring it back to the centre of history”.
The pope is also due to meet with members of Slovakia’s Jewish community later on Monday, a day after warning that anti-Semitism was still “lurking” around the world.
The meeting will take place on Rybne Square in what used to be a Jewish neighbourhood of Bratislava where a synagogue that was torn down in Communist times once stood.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that three days before the pope’s arrival, Slovakia’s government issued an apology for the first time for the role played in the Holocaust by the Nazi puppet regime in power at the time.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK