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Pope Francis: ‘EU must reform and give members more independence’

Pope Francis (AP)

Pope Francis is calling for the European Union to come up with new creative ways to stay together following Britain’s planned exit, saying it’s clear “something isn’t working in this unwieldy union.”

Speaking to reporters as he flew home from Armenia on Sunday, Francis said Europe must reflect on the “air of division” being sowed in Europe and beyond.

“I have not studied the reasons why the United Kingdom wanted to make this decision, but there are divisions,” he said.

“The European Union must rediscover the strength at its roots, a creativity and a healthy disunity, of giving more independence and more freedom to the countries of the union.”

Speaking of high unemployment and economic stagnation, Francis added: “Something isn’t working in this unwieldy union. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. We look to redeem the things and recreate, because recreation of human things, also our personality, is a journey, which one must always take.”

The key, he said, is to rekindle the will to stay together with “creativity and new life.”

The Pope said he believes brotherhood and unity are always better than distance and enmity, and that “bridges are better than walls”.