Pope Francis to visit refugee centre during his stay in Bulgaria
The pontiff is visiting the EU’s poorest country which has taken a hard line against migrants.
Pope Francis has arrived in Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest country and one that taken a hard line against migrants.
That stance conflicts with the pontiff’s view that reaching out to vulnerable people is a moral imperative.
On a two-day trip that began Sunday, Francis plans to tour a refugee centre and dive into the Vatican’s complicated relations with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
Later in the day, Francis will talk with prime minister Boyko Borisov, whose centre-right, pro-Brussels coalition government includes three nationalist, anti-migrant parties.
The government has called for the closure of EU borders to migrants and sealed off its own frontier to Turkey with a barbed-wire fence.
Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, is the bloc’s poorest country, with the lowest average monthly salary, 575 euro (£490) and the smallest average monthly pension of 190 euro (£162).