Pope condemns treatment of migrants in Europe

The Pope has denounced "narrow self-interest and nationalism" over the way European countries treats migrants.

Speaking on the Greek island of Lesbos, Pope Francis called the neglect of migrants the "shipwreck of civilisation".

The Pope first visited Lesbos in 2016, when it was a major entry point for people trying to reach Europe.

Since then, new flashpoints have emerged and the Pope expressed regret that little had changed.

Last month 27 people died when their inflatable dinghy sank in the Channel between France and the UK. The number of people attempting the crossing has been growing, with more than 26,000 people arriving in the UK so far this year, more than double last year's total.

Several people have also died in freezing temperatures attempting to cross into Poland from Belarus, which denies accusations it has been orchestrating the crisis at its border to destabilise the EU.

"In Europe there are those who persist in treating the problem as a matter that does not concern them - this is tragic," Pope Francis said.

"History teaches us that narrow self-interest and nationalism lead to disastrous consequences."

The pontiff was speaking at a temporary camp housing about 2,000 asylum-seekers, which replaced the overcrowded Moria camp that was destroyed in fires last year.

While the coronavirus pandemic had shown that major challenges had to be confronted together and there were some signs of this happening on climate change, there was little sign of such an approach to migration, he said.

"It is easy to influence public opinion by instilling fear of the other," Pope Francis said.

"The remote causes should be attacked, not the poor people who pay the consequences and are even used for political propaganda."