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Pope Francis understands Europe's caution over migrants

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Pope Francis understands Europe's caution over migrants
The pope en route back to Italy. Photo: Ettore Ferrari/Pool/AFP
10:10 CET+01:00
Pope Francis, who has repeatedly called on Europe to open its doors to more migrants, stated on Tuesday that governments have the right to carefully assess their capacity to effectively integrate those arriving from abroad.

"I think that, in theory, you can't close your heart to a refugee," the pope said while flying back from a two-day visit to Sweden.

"Governments must be open to receive them, but also do the calculations regarding their reception (capabilities), because one must not only receive a refugee but also integrate them," he added.

Last year Europe saw an influx of more than one million asylum seekers in the worst such crisis since World War II.

"It isn't human to close the doors and the hearts," the pope argued, adding that in the long run there would be political gains to be had by being more welcoming.

Sweden has a long tradition of accepting foreigners, and let in 245,000 refugees in 2014 and 2015.

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