Pope Francis 'says Europe must become federal or it will no longer count for anything' - report

ReutersPope Francis greets the crowds in St Peter's Square, Vatican. He has reportedly said that Europe must become 'federal' in order to count for anything in the world.

Pope Francis has been reported as saying that Europe 'must become a federal community or it will no longer count for anything in the world'.

His comments were apparently made in an interview with Eugenio Scalfari, the 93-year-old founder of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Scalfari does not record his interviews or even take notes.

Nonetheless, he wrote that he told Pope Francis that Europe must become a federal state if it is to deal with the ongoing migrant crisis, to which the Pope apparently responded: 'True, I have repeatedly raised this.'

Pope Francis then continued: 'The countries [of Europe] will act if they recognise one truth: either Europe becomes a federal community or it will no longer count for anything in the world.'

The Pope's remarks came ahead of a G20 summit in Germany. In the same interview, Pope Francis reportedly warned leaders of the world's top 20 economies meeting in Hamburg against forming dangerous and distorting alliances that could harm the poor and migrants.

'The G20 worries me, it hits migrants in countries in half of the world and it hits them even more as time goes by,' the Pope was quoted as saying.

Francis reportedly said he was afraid of 'very dangerous alliances among (foreign) powers that have a distorted vision of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, [Vladimir] Putin and [Bashar] Assad in the war in Syria.'

He said the greatest danger concerned immigration, with 'the poor, the weak, the excluded and the marginalised" juxtaposed with "those who... fear the invasion of migrants'.

A Vatican source told Christian Today that Scalfari's quotes needed to be taken with 'a pinch of salt'.