Ursula von der Leyen will visit the Vatican on Friday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be received by Pope Francis on Friday, June 10, 2022. The war in Ukraine is expected to be at the center of the discussions.
This is the second time Pope Francis has received her in audience. They met May 21, 2021, highlighting on that occasion the good relations between the Holy See and the European Union, which were then celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. They also spoke about the pandemic, migration and climate change.
This time, the meeting – scheduled for 10:30 a.m. – will likely focus on the war in Ukraine and its consequences on Europe and the world. More than a hundred days after the beginning of the Russian invasion, the deadly conflict has displaced millions of people and the food crisis linked to the grain blockade threatens humanity.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the President of the European Commission has spoken out strongly against the responsibility of Russia and its President for the war in Ukraine. She has also worked to put in place sanctions that are supposed to “devastate” the Russian economy and has called on the countries of the European Union to supply arms to Ukraine.
In early April, Ursula von der Leyen visited Kiev to express her support for the Ukrainian people and to hand over a questionnaire to President Volodymyr Zelensky as a basis for Ukraine’s accession to the EU.
On this occasion, the German also visited the city of Butcha.
Pope Francis’ many, many statements on the war have generally avoided mentioning Putin by name.
Instead, he ceaselessly reminds us of the human costs of the war, especially for children.
He’s condemned the “increasingly horrible cruelty” and unfurled and kissed a Ukrainian flag from Butcha.
More recently, in early June, Pope Francis expressed his “great concern” about the grain blockade in Ukraine. Without naming those responsible, he called for wheat not to be used “as a weapon of war.”