David Sassoli's funeral brings together Italy and EU’s highest representatives

Italy and Europe have paid their respects to the late European Parliament president David Sassoli with a state funeral on Thursday
Photo credits: Christophe Licoppe | European Commission Audiovisual

By Andreas Rogal

Andreas Rogal is a senior journalist at the Parliament Magazine

14 Jan 2022

The state funeral of David Sassoli took place at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome earlier today.

Gathering under a cloudless Roman sky, his family and friends were joined by the highest representatives of his country and of the European Union.

The coffin of the late president of the European Parliament was draped in the EU flag.

The service in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli – a 16th century masterpiece with Baroque additions built into parts of the Roman emperor Diocletian’s thermal baths – was led by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna.

From Italy, President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Mayor of Rome and former MEP Roberto Gualteri attended. The EU’s delegation was led by the three presidents, Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel and, in an acting capacity, Roberta Metsola.

Among the congregation from the European Parliament paying their respects were the leaders of the EPP Group, Manfred Weber, the S&D Group, Iratxe García Pérez and, and for the Renew Group, Parliament Vice-President Nicola Beer.

Also in attendance were notable colleagues such as former Commission president Romano Prodi, the President’s predecessor, Antonio Tajani, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

On Wednesday, the President had lain in state in the mayoral hall on the Capitol, where members of the public could pay their respects. Mayor Gualtieri had posted a picture illustrating the popularity of David Sassoli as a politician and journalist in his country and beyond, and wrote:

“A day full of pain but also of extraordinary human warmth. Thousands of people lined up at the Campidoglio to pay their last respects to #DavidSassoli: a sincere affection for a special person who will be sorely missed.”

The European Parliament will hold its own ceremony to honour David Sassoli's memory at the beginning of next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg on Monday at 18:00.

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