Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018

Pope gets jobs-crisis debrief from Letta


(By Denis Greenan).
Vatican City, July 4 - Pope Francis got a debrief
on recent moves to fight Europe and Italy's jobs crisis,
especially among the young, from Italian Premier Enrico Letta
during their first-ever meeting at the Vatican Thursday.
In a statement issued after the "cordial" 30-minute talks,
the Vatican said the two leaders discussed new job-creation
schemes in Europe and Italy.
Talks focused on "measures to create and safeguard
employment, above all among the young," it said.
Letta returned from a European Union summit last week with
1.5 billion euros and other EU-backed schemes to help tackle
Italy's soaring jobless rates - 12% in general and almost 40%
among the young.
Overall, the summit earmarked nine billion euros to bring
down jobless rates including youth unemployment of well over 50%
in Greece and Spain.
The Vatican statement said that, both with Pope Francis
and later with Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, "the
interlocutors dwelled on the social situation and the principal
efforts which citizens and institutions in Italy and the
European Union are making, in particular, to adopt measures to
create and safeguard employment, above all youth employment".
The Vatican also highlighted the "substantive contribution
which Italian families and (Catholic) Church institutions are
continuing to give to the stability of the Country.
It added that Letta, Francis and Bertone also examined
current international topics including "concerned attention" on
the Middle East amid the Egypt crisis.
Letta emerged from the audience to tell reporters that the
story of his recent trip to the Holy Land had been a
particularly "intense" moment of the meeting.
The two exchanged gifts in the Vatican library after their
first meeting.
Letta gave the pontiff a 1571 volume of sermons by St.
Thomas Aquinas.
"I hope you like it. I believe you will be able to read
it, not just keep it," said Letta.
Pope Francis responded that it was "much appreciated".
Letta also presented the pope with an olive-wood rosary
from his trip to Israel this week.
Pope Francis gave the premier a pen fashioned after the
famous bronze canopy in St. Peter's designed by Renaissance
master Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
"Every signature is challenging," Letta said, drawing a
smile from Pope Francis.
It was their first meeting since they assumed their
respective offices this year, Francis in March and Letta in
After the meeting, Papal Secretary Alfred Xuereb said
Francis would visit an immigration center off the coast of
Sicily next week "to cry for the dead".
"His visit is a sign to demonstrate that while the rich
waste in the north, there are those in the south who leave
everything behind to tempt fate and often find death".
On Monday Francis is scheduled to make his first trip
outside the Rome area as pontiff to the tiny island of
Lampedusa, where he will celebrate Mass at an immigration center
that has been a constant source of overcrowding.
Migration from Northern Africa picks up in summer months
as sea conditions improve.
But many die while attempting the voyage, often in crammed
and unsafe boats.

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