Pope Francis has urged Europe to rediscover its identity as it copes with refugee waves, Britain's exit from the EU and the "homicidal madness" of religious-inspired violence.

Francis devoted his annual foreign policy speech Monday to promoting peace at a time of mass migrations, economic stagnation and extremist terror across the globe.

He praised several European nations for welcoming refugees and insisted that others give them "dignified welcome" while also fighting poverty and other social ills that can fuel religious fundamentalism.

Speaking to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, Francis urged Europe to rediscover its ideals as it marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, one of the founding agreements of the European Union. He said: "This requires recovering its roots in order to shape its future."