The European Parliament in Strasbourg recently turned out in its finest to welcome the Pope for the first time in two decades. In one of the most eloquent and thoughtful speeches delivered to MEPs for some years in the European chamber, the Pope referred to a number of issues that, in his opinion, have emerged in Europe since the economic crisis began.

The Pope delivered a very serious wake-up call in a speech with a strong social and economic element. Among other issues, he made an appeal for Europe to “rediscover its good soul” and look back to recover the spirit that reigned when the European Union was put together by its founding fathers.

Among the issues mentioned, there was one in particular that the Pope has long been mentioning given its current severity and potential consequences; youth unemployment. This is not the first time he has mentioned this issue; a few months ago, during a conversation with journalists in an aeroplane, the Pope expressed his concern for youth unemployment in Andalusia. He has also stressed this problem in other places, such as Peru -before President Humala- or in Italy where, as in other southern European countries, there are high youth unemployment rates that are compromising the future of the countries and of the continent as a whole.

Indeed, Francis I is one of the figures on the international scene that most frequently highlights this problem. It is not a coincidence that the Church is one of the institutions capable of mobilising most young people, as it has proven in recent years with the World Youth Days; the latest in Rio de Janeiro.