The President of the European Parliament is sacked by Italy with a state funeral, attended by Pedro Sánchez, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel
The greats of Europe and dozens of citizens gathered this Friday on a cold morning to say goodbye to David Sasol, President of the European Parliament from 2019 until his untimely death last Tuesday. The frequent moments of silence and agitation, and the prominent role in the speeches of the European Union (EU), were the counterpoint to an unusual gathering of family, friends and political leaders in the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome, where the funeral took place. They were there, among many others, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyenbut also the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella; the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sanchezand the Greek President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou; the latter two, moved to the scene for the occasion.
The act began after 11:40 a.m. in the protomoteca of Rome’s City Hall on Mount Campidoglio, where the day before some 4,000 people had waited, queuing, to enter the place where the coffin of the deceased politician and journalist. From there, Sassoli’s wooden coffin, wrapped in the flag of the European Union -not that of Italy, which hardly appeared during the whole event-, crossed Piazza Venezia and Via Nazionale to to reach Republic Square, guarded by 600 Italian policemen. Some streets had already been closed to traffic the previous evening, and a screen was erected in the street so that those who had not been able to enter the interior of the church could attend the funeral.
Arriving at the Church of Santa Maria de los Angeles, Sassoli was greeted by the Grenadier Guards and the Carabinieri Corps, before the start of the Mass, which was celebrated by the Archbishop of Bologna, Matteo Zuppi, a former comrade also a journalist’s class. The moving words were not lacking, and the references to the speeches of the deceased in defense of a more united European construction and with great democratic advancesyes In front of Sassoli’s wife, Alessandra – whom he met when they were both still students -, Zuppi recalled the biography of the deceased leader: his beginnings as a columnist, his mentors who introduced him to the Christian Democracy -among others, the Christian Democrat Paolo Giuntella and Giorgio La Pira-, political commitment, and finally his decision to stand in the European elections.
Against the “walls”
Sassoli “wanted a united Europe” because “he was the son of a generation that suffered from war”, the priest said. Therefore, he fought against “those walls which have become a boundary between the moral and the immoral,” he added. solidarity with migrantshis fight against inequality and the povertyand his insistence on the need to give hope to young people they also dominated much of the rest of the interventions. “You told us: ‘isn’t it modern to welcome a migrant, to shake his hand when he crosses the sea?'”, recalls journalist Elisa Anzaldo, Sassoli’s colleague at RAI. “During the pandemic, you opened the doors of the European Parliament to refugee womento those who had hunger. You provided an essential service,” continued the journalist.
“Dad, you leave us three words: dignity, passion and love. It may be trivial but love is the word you repeated the most in your last days, as if it were a exhortation, with a cry,” said his son Giulio. “The European institutions have a duty to protect the weak and fight the indifference. This is our challenge, to build a new world that respects people and nature, and believes in a new economy. We are hope, when we don’t close our eyes to those who suffer, when we don’t build walls, when we fight against injustices,” his daughter, Livia, said, quoting Sassoli’s last speech on December 23. .
After the ceremony, then thundered a long applause. And then a light wind stirred the dark outfits of the participants, adding to the drama of the act, which was broadcast live on RAI, the Italian public television channel, in which Sassoli spent much of his career and is become one of the main faces. evening news on the first channel. Then, under clear skies and in an orderly fashion, authorities and citizens began to leave. All this while waiting for the next tribute organized in memory of Sassoli, which will take place on Monday in Strasbourg.