President of European Commission to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday

Pope Francis and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, will meet Friday at the Vatican. The focus of the meeting is the war in Ukraine and the threat of a global food crisis, which could be catastrophic in some African countries.

Please do not use wheat, a staple food, as a weapon of war.

On Wednesday, von der Leyen made critical remarks against Russia’s president. She says Putin is using the threat of a serious global food crisis as part of his “arsenal of terror.”

President of the European Commission
Food has become now part of the Kremlin’s arsenal of terror and we cannot tolerate this. (applause) I think this is the only way to describe Russia’s bombarding of grain storage, the blockage of Ukrainian ports, actually also, in some cases, even theft of grain from Ukraine. So at the moment, being round about 20 million tons of grain currently trapped in Ukraine.

Additionally, von der Leyen recalled that the European Union sanctions on Russia do not influence food sectors, and Putin has taken complete advantage of this.

President of the European Commission
Our sanctions do not touch basic food commodities. They do not affect the trading of grain or other food between Russia and third countries. And the port embargo specifically has full exemption on agricultural goods.

Last year when the Pope and President von der Leyen met, the world and the geopolitical situation were very different. They were celebrating the silver jubilee in diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the European Union. Now, they meet to discuss more pressing matters of state.

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