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Rome Reports

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Pope to meet with political and social leaders next Saturday on "(Re)thinking Europe"

The Vatican's number two, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will open an ambitious two-and-a-half day meeting between civil and religious leaders in Europe next Friday. They will meet in Rome to have "a constructive reflection on the fundamental challenges facing the European project."

The meeting was organized by the Vatican and the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the EU to remember 60 years of signing the Treaties of Rome, which launched the European project.

Pope Francis will meet with the participants next Saturday to deliver his fourth major speech on Europe. Previously he spoke when he visited the European Parliament, at the ceremony for the Carlo Magno prize, and at the meeting with European Union government heads last year.

However, the sixtieth anniversary of the EU is not an exceptionally happy occasion, like its promoters expected. The Union is not at its best, perhaps because, as the pope said, it has focused too much on economic issues and has forgotten the rest.