On Thursday 18 September, Pope Francis received in a private audience the two European politicians of the Left, Alexis Tsipras and Walter Baier. Tsipras is Vice president of the European Left Party and president of the Greek party SYRIZA. Baier is coordinator of the network transform! europe. The meeting served the purpose of introducing an unconventional dialogue in the face of an increasingly dangerous global situation.
The participants in the meeting shared the opinion that together all people of good will had to put a halt to the ravaging madness of war.
The dialogue had ranged from Europe's economic crisis, the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, the gulf between rich and poor and the tragedy of uncontrolled migration.
As the British newspaper The Guardian reported “the Argentinian-born pontiff agreed to meet the politician after months of clandestine negotiations between European leftists and the Holy See”.
Tsipras, 39, who stood as candidate of the Left for EU commissioner in the European elections, and whose SYRIZA party is leading polls in Greece, presented the pope with an olive branch, the symbol of peace.
The dialogue with Pope Francis was an attempt to gauge common views and aims and to find ways of remaining “within hailing distance” in the future.
Alexis Tsipras at the press briefing after the meeting
Walter Baier at the press briefing after the meeting
Pope Francis the 'pontiff of the poor', says Greece's Alexis Tsipras