Vatican also announces trip to France in 2015
Pope Francis will travel to Strasbourg to address the European Parliament and the Council of Europe on November 25, according to a statement released by the Vatican Press Office on Tuesday.
The European Parliament is the only directly-elected EU body and one of the largest democratic assemblies in the world. Its 751 Members are there to represent the EU’s 500 million citizens. They are elected once every five years by voters from across the 28 member states.
The invitation to the European Parliament was extended by President Martin Schulz during his official visit to the Vatican on October 11, 2013. On this occasion the Pope will address the members during a formal session.
The Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organization. It includes 47 member states, 28 of which are members of the European Union. All Council of Europe member states have signed on to the European Convention on Human Rights, a treaty designed to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Pope Francis’ official visit to the Council of Europe follows an invitation by Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland at a private audience in the Vatican on September 20, 2014.
The Pope will address the organization in a solemn session, as it celebrates its 65th anniversary.
The last visit by a Pontiff both to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe was in October 1988.
Answering questions by journalists during the press conference to present the program of the Pope’s visit to Strasbourg in November, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said the Holy Father intends to undertake an Apostolic Journey to France during the year 2015.