Pope Francis EU Parliament Strasbourg
Pope Francis arrives to address the European Parliament at the institution's headquarters in StrasbourgReuters

Pope Francis called for the development of green energies and the preservation of the environment in an address to the European parliament in Strasbourg.

The pontiff praised the EU's commitment "in favour of ecology" opposed to what he said is the human obsession to "dominate, own, manipulate and exploit" nature.

"Europe has numerous creative potentialities in various fields of scientific research, some of which have not been fully explored yet," he said, citing alternative energy sources as an example.

"Their development would greatly benefit the defence of the environment."

The pontiff said every man has a responsibility to take care of the planet.

"Our Earth needs constant concern, care and attention," Francis told MEPs. "We are not its masters. Stewards, but not masters".

In his speech, Francis lashed out at Europe's "culture of reject" and urged EU institutions to put people and ideals back at the centre.

He described the EU as "somewhat elderly and haggard," saying people have lost confidence in its institutions as they are perceived as far removed from them and their issues.

"The great ideals which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction to the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions," Francis said.

He urged lawmakers to respect human dignity by taking swift and concerted measures to address the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea and promoting policies that create jobs.

"A Europe which is no longer open to the transcendent dimension of life is a Europe which risks slowly losing its own soul," he said.