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EU flag covers the coffin of Sassoli, leader of the bloc’s parliament

With a European Union flag draped over the coffin, Italy held a state funeral on Friday for David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament, who died earlier in the week.

Senior EU officials, including Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, attended the service at the Church of St. Mary of the Angels on Republic Square in Rome. Also present were Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Mario Draghi

Sassoli, 65, died in an Italian hospital on Tuesday. He had suffered for months from ill health as a result of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria and abnormal functioning of his immune system.

Cardinal of Bologna Matteo Zuppi, a friend of Sassoli, said in a homily: “For him, politics should be for the common good. That is why he wanted a united Europe, with its founding values, and he worked to ensure that its institutions function well. “

“Not ideologies, but ideals, not calculations but a vision,” said the cardinal.

Sassoli’s daughter Livia cited her father’s Christmas post in his role in the European Parliament which he published days before his last hospitalization. In this message, the President of the European Parliament decried that “Europe’s borders had in some cases become borders between what is moral and what is immoral, between humanity and the lack of humanity”. Sassoli, in these terms, did not criticize specific situations or policies, but his reference to European attitudes towards migrants was obvious.

Before entering politics, Sassoli worked as a journalist for Italian state television, eventually reaching one of his most prestigious positions – presenter of the network’s main station during the dinner time news.

Several journalists offered their memories of him during the service.

His son, Giulio Sassoli, described his father as a person with “strong ideas and gentle manners”.

The Independent Gt

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