Funeral of European Parliament President David Sassoli Friday in Rome

Flags at the EU institutions, such as the parliament buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg in France and at the European Commission in Brussels, are flown at half-mast. The 65-year-old Italian Social Democrat who has held the presidency of the EU Parliament since July 2019 will be commemorated in a special ceremony at the opening of the first plenary session of the year in Strasbourg on Monday. Former prime minister of Italy, former MEP and Sassoli’s party colleague Enrico Letta will be present.

A new president will be elected on Tuesday. This was already on the agenda because in 2019 it was agreed with the Christian Democrats and Liberals when he took office that Sassoli would be replaced halfway through his term. Maltese Christian Democrat Roberta Metsola is expected to be his successor.

The sudden death of the, according to many, amiable, warm and friendly Italian was shocked. According to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Sassoli was “a symbol of balance, humanity and generosity.” “These qualities have always been recognized by all his colleagues, of every political cut, and by all European countries.”

Sassoli had been in an Italian hospital since December 26, it was announced Monday. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

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