Italy to hold state funeral for David Sassoli in Rome

Italy to honour Sassoli with state funeral on Friday.

European parliament president David Sassoli, who died in the early hours of Tuesday, is to receive a state funeral in Rome on Friday.

The news, reported by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, follows the green light from the Italian cabinet on Wednesday morning.

Sassoli's body will lie in state at Rome city hall from 10.00 to 18.00 on Thursday, and the funeral service will be held at noon on Friday in the Basilica di S. Maria degli Angeli, in Piazza della Repubblica.

The presidents of the European Commission and the European Council - Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel - will attend the funeral which will be celebrated by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, a school friend of Sassoli, according to the Avvenire newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference.

Tributes to Sassoli

Tributes have poured in for the 65-year-old politician and former journalist who passed away in hospital in Aviano, northern Italy, where he had been seriously ill for more than two weeks.

Italian premier Mario Draghi recalled Sassoli as "an attentive and authoritative voice" who "defended European values and the rights of the weakest".

Italy's outgoing president Sergio Mattarella hailed him as a "passionate politician, a loyal, rigorous leader" whose "unexpected and untimely death" is a source of "deep pain to the people of Italy and Europe."

EC president von der Leyen, speaking in Italian, said on Tuesday: "It is a sad day for Europe. Today our union loses a convinced pro-European, a sincere democrat and a good man", adding that her "thoughts go to his wife Alessandra, his children Giulio and Livia and all his friends."

Pope Francis remembered Sassoli as a man of faith, "animated by hope and charity, a competent journalist and an esteemed man of the institutions who, calmly and respectfully, in his public role and responsibility, did his utmost for the common good with rectitude and generous commitment."

On Monday the EU parliament confirmed that Sassoli had been admitted to hospital in Italy on 26 December "because of a serious complication due to a dysfunction of the immune system.”

A member of the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Sassoli had been president of the 705-seat EU parliament since 2019.

He was first elected to the European Parliament in 2009 as a member of Italy’s Partito Democratico (PD).
Sassoli won another term in 2014 and served as the parliament's vice-president.

A former television journalist, he was hospitalised with severe pneumonia in September and returned to Italy to recover.

Sassoli resumed his activities in November and indicated that he would not be seeking re-election.

The European parliament is to organise a commemorative ceremony on 17 January at the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg.

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Address Piazza Della Repubblica, 00185 Roma RM, Italy

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Italy to hold state funeral for David Sassoli in Rome

Piazza Della Repubblica, 00185 Roma RM, Italy