Pope Francis has been awarded the Charlemagne Prize, given for outstanding services towards European unification.
At a ceremony in the Vatican, attended by EU leaders and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, he called for a fairer distribution of wealth, saying it was a moral obligation.
“If we want to rethink our society, we need to create dignified and well-paying jobs, especially for our young people. To do so requires coming up with new, more inclusive and equitable economic models, aimed not at serving the few, but at benefiting ordinary people and society as a whole. “
As EU leaders sat listening, he criticized their handling of the refugee crisis and called for a more welcoming policy.
“I dream of a Europe that cares for children, that offers fraternal help to the poor and those newcomers seeking acceptance because they have lost everything and need shelter, the Pope said. “ I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime but a summons to greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being.”
The prize committee said the Pope had been chosen because in a time when many citizens in Europe sought orientation, “his Holiness Pope Frances sends a message of love and encouragement.”