European Union countries should help each other overcome their economic and financial troubles and tackle social crises, Pope Benedict XVI said Monday, in a message likely to resonate in his native Germany.
As the strongest economy in the bloc, Germany is often urged to
provide more help to its weaker peers. It is paying the lion share of
bailouts for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, but it is resisting
further moves towards eurozone debt mutualization.
Without singling out nations, the pontiff said in a New Year
address to Vatican ambassadors that while "certain countries may
perhaps advance more quickly" on their own, by acting together the
European Union "will certainly go further."
The leader of the Catholic Church also said that the bloc needed
"farsighted representatives capable of making the difficult choices
necessary to rectify its economy and to lay solid foundations for
Benedict called on politicians to concentrate not only on reducing
so-called financial spreads - risk differentials between benchmark
German debt and that of other EU countries - but also work to
mitigate social inequalities.
"The increasing differences between those few who grow ever richer
and the many who grow hopelessly poorer, should be a cause for
dismay. In a word, it is a question of refusing to be resigned to a
‘spread‘ in social well-being, while at the same time fighting one in
the financial sector," he said.