The meeting between Pope Francis and Alexis Tsipras ended up lasting twice as long as planned. According to initial reports during their 50-minute discussion the two men talked about a wide range of subjects, chief among them being the economic crisis.
Specifically the Pontiff mentioned what he called the ‘structural’ causes of poverty across the globe saying characteristically, “Both in Europe and in my country, Argentina, priority was given in saving the banks and not the people,” to which Alexis Tsipras responded with a play on a traditional saying of the left, saying “People over markets,” a sentiment with which Pope Francis agreed.
Pope Francis also spoke of a crisis of values adding to Mr Tsipras, “You young politicians speak a language which is like a melody, which gives hope.”
“The Left and the Church, even though they having different starting points, meet over the principle of solidarity,” was the key phrase from Tsipras. He also proposed the formation of a broad alliance to tackle major global problems, led by the pope.
Immigration and strife in war-torn regions across the globe were also topics of discussion. In closing, the head of the Roman Catholic Church requested that Alexis Tsipras give his best wishes to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whom he is eager, as he said, to meet on the 30th of November in the seat of the Patriarchate, in Fener, Istanbul.
Immediately following the meeting Alexis Tsipras stated:
“We had the opportunity today to discuss the political crisis and the need for politics to re-inspire people. We discussed the need for peace to return to the world and for people to be put above profits. We asked that he take on an international initiative to end the violence in the Middle East and the Ukraine. We discussed immigration and the tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea. I described the situation in Greece which continues to sink in the crisis. I told him that everything that had been done, was done so that the banks would be saved, not the people. Finally, we agreed that the dialogue between the Left and the Christian church must continue. We come from different starting points but we intersect over common values.”