European Parliament President David Sassoli passed away earlier today in Aviano (Italy), where he had been hospitalised since 26 December. A Member of the European Parliament since 2009, he was elected President in July 2019 for the first half of the legislature.
President Sassoli adopted extraordinary measures enabling the European Parliament to carry out its duties and exercise its prerogatives under the Treaties during the course of the pandemic. He also played a prominent role in championing an ambitious long-term EU budget and effective recovery facility. In addition, the late President led Parliament in showing its solidarity towards the less fortunate when the crisis first hit, with supportive actions in European Parliament’s host cities such as providing meals to charities and shelter in Parliament’s premises to women who are victims of violence. Determined to draw from the lessons of the pandemic, President Sassoli also launched a large reflection exercise with Members to rethink and reinforce Parliamentary democracy.
As a dedicated European, President Sassoli underlined in his speech at the European Council in December a few weeks ago that “What Europe needs, and needs most of all, is a new project of hope. I think we can build that project on the basis of a powerful three-pronged approach: a Europe that innovates; a Europe that protects; and a Europe that illuminates.
A ceremony to honour his memory will take place on Monday 17 January at the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg in the presence of former MEP and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.