The Pope could have shown leadership by admitting a few dozen suffering souls to his diminutive city-state (a real country with ambassadors and a flag), but he has not. He is scheduled to meet with survivor refugees from a 2013 Mediterranean shipwreck which would be a perfect opportunity to ask some to live in the Vatican, but no mention has been made of a forthcoming invitation. Opportunity lost.
Meanwhile, Europe is not exactly bursting with opportunity for job seekers, particularly unskilled Africans and Middle Easterners.
Europe’s agony: Painfully high unemployment, inflation near zero, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), September 30, 2014The Pope’s first visit out of the Vatican was to the Italian island of Lampedusa, which has been flooded with thousands of foreign boat people for years.
• Unemployment among the 18 nations that make up the troubled euro zone held at 11.5 per cent in August, according to the statistics agency Eurostat. In the wider European Union, the jobless rate dipped to 10.1 per cent from 10.2 per cent.
• Almost 25 million people can’t find work in the EU, more than 18 million of them in the euro zone.
• Greece and Spain continue to have the highest unemployment in the region, at 27 per cent and 24.4 per cent, respectively.
• Austria and Germany, at 4.7 per cent and 4.9 per cent, enjoy the lowest.
• Among young people, unemployment now stands just slightly below that of July’s level, at 21.6 per cent in the EU and 23.3 per cent in the euro zone.
• More than half the youth work force in Greece and Spain is jobless. And in Italy, youth unemployment is now running at more than 44 per cent.
In other refugee news, RefugeeResettlementWatch reminds us that FY2015 begins today (October 1) and one consequence is that 4000 Syrians will be dumped into American communities starting now, with the government lowering screening guidelines to get them in, despite the obvious national security danger.
Pope Urges Europe to Open Doors to Refugees, Associated Press, October 1, 2014
Pope Francis urged Europe to open its doors to refugees Wednesday as he marked the anniversary of a deadly migrant shipwreck off Sicily by meeting with survivors and relatives of the victims.
Some 368 people — most of them Eritrean and Syrian asylum-seekers — drowned Oct. 3, 2013 when their smugglers’ boat capsized off the island of Lampedusa. The tragedy jolted the EU and prompted Italy to beef up its Mediterranean sea patrols, which have rescued some 160,000 people this year alone.
On Wednesday, nearly 40 survivors and relatives of the Lampedusa victims met with Francis in the Vatican auditorium before heading to Lampedusa for ceremonies to commemorate the anniversary.
Francis, who has frequently lamented the plight of refugees, said he was speechless, unable to find the words to comfort people who had faced such tragedy.
“I ask all the men and women of Europe to open the doors of their hearts,” Francis said. “I want to let you know I’m near you, I pray for you, and I pray that doors that are closed are opened.”
Francis visited Lampedusa months before the October tragedy to show solidarity with migrants following the death of a dozen would-be refugees over the summer. During a Mass on the island, he denounced the “globalization of indifference” that greets migrants who risk their lives in search of safety and a better life for themselves.
Members of the refugee delegation thanked Francis for his support and urged him to back their efforts to recover remains of the victims; some of the bodies haven’t been turned over to relatives.
“It was good, but we need more help,” said Smliva Zeregherghis, an Eritrean who was part of the delegation. His wife, Wine, was killed in the shipwreck as she attempted to join him in Britain, where he has been working as a manual laborer for six years.