European Parliament President David Sassoli passed away on 11 January 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.
In Rome, President David Sassoli will lie in state on Thursday 13 January from 10.00 to 18.00 in Sala della Protomoteca of the Campidoglio. The funeral service will take place on Friday 14 January at 12.00 in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Election of the new EP President
As outlined in the Rules of Procedure (Rule 20), the interim Presidency will be ensured by the first Vice-President of the Parliament in the days leading up to the election of a new President. As originally planned before the sudden passing of President Sassoli, the election of the President for the second half of the mandate will take place on Tuesday 18 January during the Strasbourg plenary. The elections of the Vice-Presidents and Quaestors will follow in the same week.
EPP: David Sassoli was a true European and passionate ambassador of a more united and social Europe
“We are extremely sad and shocked by the passing of President David Sassoli. We have no words. He was a true European and passionate ambassador of a more united and social Europe”, said EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber MEP this morning.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends in this very difficult moment”, continued Weber.
S&Ds mourn David Sassoli
Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament mourn the passing away of EP president, David Sassoli. S&D leader Iratxe García today invited everyone in the house to hold a minute of silence in front of the Parliament at 13:00 to pay tribute to Sassoli.
The S&Ds will continue with the negotiations to decide on their vote for the president of the second half of the mandate, which will take place next week in Strasbourg.
“Today is a very sad day for all of us. We are devastated by our loss and we will keep working for the values that our friend and colleague David Sassoli fought for. President Sassoli did a great job during the last two years and a half. He made it possible for the parliament to continue its work during the worst period of the pandemic, and led this house in a spirit of dialogue, respect and cooperation; always working for the citizens and for a Europe of cohesion, justice and solidarity,” said S&D Group president, Iratxe García MEP.
“We will pay tribute to his memory over the next days and we will remember him when we hold our first group meeting of the New Year this evening, at 18:00. Then we will continue with our agenda, as time is pressing to renew the leadership of the Parliament. I will keep negotiating with other political groups, and we will have two hearings – this evening and tomorrow. We need to build a pro-European majority in this house to make sure that we can function with responsibility and stability. At the same time, we need assurance that the next EP president and the supporting majority will promote an agenda where we see our priorities and our values represented. As yet, nothing is decided, so every decision is open. Our political family is the second largest group in this parliament and we demand a fair political balance – both at a political level and on the administrative structures. Our group will only decide our vote in our group meeting next Monday, ahead of the plenary vote,” added Iratxe García.
ECR expresses its deep sorrow over the death of European Parliament President David Sassoli
“I am very sorry to hear of the death of David Sassoli, a man and politician of great depth with whom I always had fair disputes but shared a very trusting working relationship which, despite our differences of opinion, was always based on respect. On behalf of the ECR Group, I express my deepest condolences to his family and friends,” said Italian ECR Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto.
“The death of President Sassoli is a great loss not only for us MEPs but for the whole of Europe. Respected as a person and for his manner, even by his political opponents, he was someone who listened keenly and who did his utmost to bring different positions together. We will miss him dearly,” declared Polish ECR Co-Chairman Ryszard Legutko.