Pope Benedict XVI met with Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council at the Vatican yesterday morning (15 November 2011).
The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican secretary for Relations with States.
The meeting comes at a time when the Eurozone is in crisis, and the Catholic Church is concerned about the rise of secularism across the continent.
"The discussions, which took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality, provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on the international situation, and on the contribution the Catholic Church wishes to make to the European Union," a Vatican statement said after the meetings.
"In the course of the meeting, attention also turned to the promotion of human rights and, in particular, of religious freedom", a spokesperson for the Holy See declared.
The European Council is an institution of the European Union, comprising the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the president of the European Commission and its own president.