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5 May, 2019 14:42

‘Ice curtain’ cometh: Pope warns of ‘demographic winter’ in Europe as low birth rates bite

‘Ice curtain’ cometh: Pope warns of ‘demographic winter’ in Europe as low birth rates bite

Pope Francis has issued dire warnings about Europe’s future, lamenting low birth rates and emigration which have caused an “ice curtain” to fall between the continent’s rich and poor states.

Speaking during a visit to Bulgaria on Sunday, Francis alluded to Winston Churchill’s famous ‘iron curtain’ phrase to highlight the problems that wealth inequality has created across Europe.

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“Bulgaria – like so many other countries of Europe – must deal with what can only be called a new winter: the demographic winter that has descended like a curtain of ice on a large part of Europe, the consequence of a diminished confidence in the future,” he said in a speech at Sofia’s presidential palace, Vatican News reports.

The pontiff said that a drop off in the birth rate plus an intense flow of emigration has led to the “abandonment” of many villages and cities in poorer European countries. He added that Bulgaria also faces an influx of people seeking to cross its borders in order to “flee wars, conflicts or dire poverty, in the attempt to reach the wealthiest areas of Europe.”

He implored Bulgaria “to strive to create conditions that lead young people to invest their youthful energies and plan their future, as individuals and families, knowing that in their homeland they can have the possibility of leading a dignified life.”

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