On this day, leaders of European countries and institutions paid tribute to the Italian Social Democrat David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament, who He died this Tuesday at 65.
“David Sassoli passed away on January 11 at 1:15 in the morning at the CRO (Oncology Reference Center) in Aviano, where he was hospitalized” since the end of last December, his spokesman, Roberto Cuillo, announced on Twitter.
On Monday, the team was informed that Sassoli Cuillo He was hospitalized in Italy since 26 December, due to a “dysfunction of the immune system”.
The remains of Sassoli will be veiled this Thursday in the promoteca del Campidoglio, and the funerals are scheduled for Friday in the Basilica of Santa María de los Ángeles, in Rome.
The European Parliament announced on Tuesday that the plenary session of that legislature in Strasbourg will pay tribute to him on Monday.
Sassoli, who had overcome a leukemia in 2021, He was hospitalized again in the fall for pneumonia, which kept him away from parliamentary activity for several weeks.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter that he felt “extremely saddened” for the death of Sassoli.
“I am extremely saddened by the loss of a great European and a proud Italian, an attentive journalist, an extraordinary President of the European Parliament and, above all, a friend,” said Von der Leyen.
Von der Leyen determined that EU flags were hoisted at half mast in all buildings of the European institutions throughout the day.
“Sincere and passionate European, his human warmth, his generosity, his kindness and his smile are already missing,” reacted in turn the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
David Sassoli, a “champion” of democracy
The Conservative Maltese Euro-legislator Roberta Metsola, vice president of parliament and the most likely successor to Sassoli in front of the European Parliament, it indicated that it had “the broken heart”.
“Europe has lost a leader, I lost a friend, and democracy has lost a champion” Metsola noted on Twitter.
For his part, the head of the Italian government, Mario Draghi, Sassoli referred to as “a symbol of balance, humanity and generosity “.
Also in a message to the widow of Sassoli, Pope Francis recalled “a believer moved by hope and charity, a competent and esteemed journalist and a man of institutions. “
Olaf Scholz, the new head of the German government, pointed out that “Europe has lost a compromised speaker of Parliament, Italy was left without a wise politician and Germany lost a friend.”
The leader of the government of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, said that Sassoli was a “fervent defender of values and principles” of Europe.
Who was David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament?
The mandate of this former journalist and TV news anchor in Italy It started in 2019 and expired this month in the middle of the five-year European legislature.
The election of his successor was scheduled for next January 18.
In mid-December, the Social Democrats (the second largest parliamentary force) announced that they were renouncing to present a candidate, opening the door to the right-wing candidate, the Maltese Metsola, current first vice president of the institution.
European MP since 2009, Sassoli was elected in July 2019 as president of the chamber following an agreement to distribute the presidency of the main positions of responsibility of the European Union among the three major formations.
By virtue of this pact, the right won the presidency of the European Commission with Von der Leyen, the center liberals were left with the leadership of the European Council, with Charles Michel, and the Social Democrats with Parliament.
Sassoli’s mandate was marked by the health crisis which has forced the European Parliament, the only directly elected Community institution, to work remotely.
During this time, Sassoli gave up the empty premises of Parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels for the preparation of meals for people in need and the installation of a COVID-19 testing center.