By Nicole Winfield and Derek Gatopoulos | 3 December 2021
ASSOCIATED PRESS — Pope Francis warned Saturday that the “easy answers” of populism and authoritarianism are threatening democracy in Europe and called for fresh dedication to promoting the common good rather than narrow, nationalist interests.
Arriving in Greece, the birthplace of democracy, Francis used a speech to Greek political and cultural leaders to warn Europe at large about the threats facing the continent. He said only robust multilateralism can address the pressing issues of the day, from protecting the environment to fighting the pandemic and poverty.
“Politics needs this, in order to put common needs ahead of private interests,” Francis said. “Yet we cannot avoid noting with concern how today, and not only in Europe, we are witnessing a retreat from democracy.”
Francis, who lived through Argentina’s populist Peronist era as well as its military dictatorship, has frequently warned about the threat of authoritarianism and populism and the danger it poses to the European Union and democracy itself.
He didn’t name any specific countries or leaders during his speech. The EU, however, is locked in a feud with members Poland and Hungary over rule-of-law issues, with Warsaw insisting that Polish law takes precedence over EU policies and regulations. […]