Le pape François est revenu dimanche sur l'île de Lesbos, le foyer des migrations qu'il a visité pour la première fois en 2016, qualifiant la négligence des migrants de "naufrage de la civilisation". </p><div> <p>Le pape a longtemps défendu la cause des migrants et sa visite intervient un jour après avoir adressé un reproche cinglant à l'Europe, qui, selon lui, était "déchirée par l'égoïsme nationaliste".
“In Europe, there are those who persist in treating the problem as a matter of no concern to them,” said the Pope as he spent about two hours at the Mavrovouni camp in Lesbos, where nearly 2,200 asylum seekers live. ‘asylum.
On the second day of his visit to Greece, he met dozens of asylum-seeking children and relatives standing behind metal barriers and stopped to kiss a boy named Mustafa.
The people then gathered in a tent to sing songs and psalms to the pontiff.
Pope Francis has warned that the Mediterranean “is becoming a grim graveyard without headstones” and that “after all this time we see that not much in the world has changed regarding the issue of migration” .
He said the root causes “should be tackled – not the poor who pay the consequences and are even used for political propaganda.”
The European Union has been locked in a dispute with Belarus over an influx of migrants crossing the former Soviet state seeking entry into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in recent months.
Britain and France have traded pikes for the growing number of migrants making the deadly Channel crossing to reach the UK in the wake of the massive drowning on November 24 that left 27 people dead.
“His visit is a blessing,” said Rosette Leo, a Congolese asylum seeker at the site.
“Terrible modern odyssey”
The Mavrovouni temporary tent camp was hastily erected after the sprawling Moria camp, the largest such site in Europe at the time, burned down last year.
The Greek authorities blamed a group of young Afghans for the incident and security was considerably tightened for the pontiff’s visit.
The Pope’s trip to Lesbos was shorter than the previous one; he was due to hold a mass for some 2,500 people at Athens’ Megaron concert hall later Sunday.
In Cyprus, where the Pope visited before Greece this week, authorities have announced that 50 migrants will be relocated to Italy thanks to Francis.
The Greek authorities have not ruled out the possibility that some migrants from Mavrovouni could accompany him back to Italy.
He took 12 Syrian refugees with him on his last visit to Lesvos in 2016.
No to the “easy answers” of populism
At the start of his visit to Athens on Saturday, Francis “today, and not only in Europe, we are witnessing a decline in democracy”, warning against the “easy answers” of populism.
In 2016, Francis visited Moria with Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians around the world, and Archbishop Ieronymos II, head of the Church of Greece.
Mavrovouni camp is currently home to 2,193 people and has a capacity of 8,000 people, a facility official said this week.
The authorities insist that asylum procedures and processing times are now faster.
With EU funds, Greece is building a series of ‘closed’ facilities on the Greek islands with barbed wire fences, surveillance cameras, x-ray scanners and magnetic doors closed at night.
Three of these camps have opened on the islands of Samos, Leros and Kos, with Lesbos and Chios to follow next year.
Once migrants are granted asylum, they are no longer eligible to stay in the camps and many are then unable to find accommodation or work, drawing criticism from NGOs and aid agencies.
The groups also raised concerns about the new camps, saying movement of people should not be restricted and saying Greek border officials have turned the migrants back.
Greece vehemently denies the allegations, insisting that its coast guard is saving lives at sea.
The Pope is due to return to Rome on Monday.