Sassoli belonged to the italian social democratic Partito Democratico (PD). In his native Italy, he was known less as a politician than as a former anchorman of the daily news of the public broadcaster RAI.
He was a Progressive Catholic and saw his foundation in the social teachings of his church. Especially in the last months of his term as President of the European Parliament, he repeatedly spoke out in clear terms for the indispensable foundations and values of the EU: solidarity and justice. Sassoli sharply criticised those states, such as Poland, that close their borders to migrants who often accept life-threatening journeys of thousands of kilometres to escape political persecution, hunger and misery. For him, however, the problem did not lie solely with the respective national governments, but also and above all with an incoherent EU policy on migration and refugees. These borders where these fled people are stranded, he said just a few weeks ago, are the borders “between morality and immorality, between humanity and inhumanity”.
Sassoli was firmly convinced of the importance of real European cohesion. “Europe is there to make us all better off,” he said again and again. He saw the European Parliament as the real heart of the European Community. Under his presidency, the European Parliament passed a number of resolutions – including on migration – but the EU’s political leadership repeatedly ignored them. Sassoli was convinced that the Parliament also needed to open up to civil society. He invited to parliamentary sessions, for example, homeless people or others who do not get enough of a hearing.
Sassoli died at the age of 65 on the night of the tenth of January 2022. May he rest in the peace of God – we remember him with respect.
ILRS Executive Committee
Here are some links to obituaries in Italian newspapers:
ilriformista.it un cattolico democratico al servizio dei diritti e dell’ Europa