EU.- Von der Leyen highlights the fight for a “more united and closer” Europe as Sassoli’s legacy


The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, regretted this Tuesday the death of a “fighter for justice and solidarity” such as David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament who died this morning; while he has underlined as a legacy his ambition to fight for a Europe “more united” and “closer” to Europeans.

“Today is a sad day for Europe. Today our Europe loses a convinced Europeanist, a sincere democrat and a good man,” said Von der Leyen, in Italian and English, at the beginning of an institutional statement without questions, which he delivered of rigorous mourning from the headquarters of the Community Executive in Brussels.

Sassoli, 65, died at 01:15 this Tuesday at the Aviano Cancer Reference Center (northeast Italy). The president of the European Parliament had been hospitalized for two weeks due to a “serious complication” in his immune system, as indicated this Monday by the institution when reporting his delicate health situation.

“He was a man of deep faith and strong convictions. Everyone liked his smile and his kindness, but he knew how to fight for what he believed,” said an emotional Von der Leyen, who recalled that in 1989 Sassoli was one of the young Europeans who attended the fall of the wall in Berlin.

“Since then he has stood on the side of democracy and a united Europe. In more than a decade of service in the European Parliament, he constantly defended our Union and its values,” he added.

In this context, the head of the Community Executive wanted to emphasize that despite everything she also “believed that Europe had to fight for more” and has asked that this be her “legacy” in the EU. “I wanted Europe to be more united, closer to its people, more faithful to our values. That is its legacy,” he added.

In addition to the message from Von der Leyen, with which he also conveyed his condolences to the family and friends of the Italian politician, the European Commission has half-hoisted the EU flags that wave at its headquarters as a sign of mourning.

On the other hand, the College of Commissioners will observe a minute of silence on Wednesday at the beginning of its first meeting of the year, which will not be a formal College but a work seminar, a community spokesperson has specified.

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