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Britain should stay inside the EU, says top Vatican official

Archbishop Paul Gallagher addresses the UN General Assembly in October (AP)

Britain should stay inside the European Union, the Vatican’s British “foreign minister” has said.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who was raised in Liverpool, spoke to ITV about the forthcoming referendum and the refugee crisis.

The Vatican Secretary of State for Relations, colloquially referred to as the Holy See’s foreign minister, spoke about his weekly meeting with Pope Francis, who he said is “extremely courteous, he always greets you, has a kind word. He’s quite self-deprecating.”

Speaking about the migrant crisis facing the Middle East and Europe, he said: “No one is doing enough – one of the important things is that the EU has got to work together on this.”

Asked what the Holy See’s view on the upcoming Brexit referendum, Archbishop Gallagher said: “We respect the ultimate decision of the British people, that’s for the British electorate to decide. We would see it as not something that would make a stronger Europe. Better in than out.”

He also criticised what Donald Trump said about a moratorium on Muslim immigration: “I found it very shocking that he would say that… We’re not in favour of walls.”

Archbishop Gallagher confided that when he first arrived in Rome as a young man he had never been on an aeroplane “or eaten a bowl of spaghetti”, and it took him three weeks to get used to the idea.