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Pope Francis to address the Council of Europe in November

2014-09-22

During his return flight from Tirana, Albania, Pope Francis told journalists that his next visit in Europe will be on November 25th. 

The Pope will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg. However, the Pope also revealed that he will visit the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe is made up of 47 countries, among them Italy, Germany and Russia. The council oversees cooperation between European countries in human rights, democratic development and cultural cooperation. It is separate from the European Union but does have an advisory role in creating policy. 

If the Pope does address the Council of Europe, he's expected to discuss several human rights issues affecting Europe, including immigration and religious freedom. He could also possibly discuss growing tensions and the climate of war in Europe and across the globe.

The Secretary General of the Council, Thorbjørn Jagland, formally invited the Pope to address the council when he visited the Vatican on September 20, 2014.

During that visit, Jagland thanked the Pope for his appeal for European solidarity with countries around the Mediterranean to secure the humane treatment of refugees.

The last visit by a Pontiff to the Council of Europe was on October 8, 1988, when St. John Paul II addressed the Council on the eve of the organization's 40th anniversary. 


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