Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says Pope Francis’ visit to the Greek island of Lesvos is a historic event and an important opportunity to highlight the need to find a legal route into Europe for those fleeing conflict.
Tsipras says he is proud of the Greek people for welcoming refugees and other migrants at a time when they are suffering under austerity measures imposed on Greece by the country’s international lenders.
“I am proud of this, particularly at a time when some of our partners – even in the name of Christian Europe – were erecting walls and fences to prevent defenseless people from seeking a better life. That is why I consider that your visit is historic and important,” Tsipras told Francis shortly after his arrival at the airport Saturday.
He said the pope’s visit “is a very important opportunity to show the need to stop the war, the taking advantage of people and to give the possibility of a legal route for these people who leave their homes and search for a better future in Europe.”