German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, held his first meeting with Pope Francis on Monday since taking over the largely ceremonial post, with migration and refugees on the agenda. Steinmeier, who assumed office in February, held a private audience with the pontiff in the Vatican.
The talks were also expected to focus on international tensions as well as the outcome of September’s German election, which resulted in new right-wing populist party, the Alternative for Germany, entering the national parliament in Berlin for the first time. A Protestant and former Foreign Minister, Steinmeier has repeatedly sought to promote ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. His visit to Rome coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which forged a new the relationship between the Protestant and the Catholic churches. Steinmeier’s predecessor, Joachim Gauck, met with the former Pope, Benedict, in 2012.