Maltese MEPs have written of their sadness at the passing of European Parliament President David Sassoli.
Mr Sassoli’s death at the age of 65 was announced by his spokesperson on Tuesday morning. He had been seriously ill for two weeks, and had cancelled all official activities.
“I am heartbroken to learn that European Parliament President David Sassoli has passed away early this morning,” Dr Metsola wrote on Facebook.
“Europe has lost a leader, I have lost a friend, democracy has lost a champion. We have lost one of us.”
“David Sassoli was a true progressive who led the European Parliament through the toughest of times with courage and determination,” wrote Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer.
“Today I lost a friend. I lost someone with whom I would often discuss politics. And as a parliament, we have lost a leader. Rest in peace, David. We will never forget you,” said PN MEP David Casa.
Labour MEP Josianne Cutajar, who was elected in 2019, the same year Mr Sassoli was elected as President, wrote:
“As Socialists, we were eager to build a Europe that was more progressive and closer to the people. Throughout his tenure, David never disappointed and always had his feet on the ground.”
Meanwhile, similar reactions of shock and sadness flooded in from Europe’s institutions.
The European Commission said it was deeply saddened by the loss of “a great European and proud Italian.”
“David Sassoli was a compassionate journalist, an outstanding President of the European Parliament. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, said Mr Sassoli “put people at the heart of everything he did during his life.”
A former TV newsreader, Mr Sassoli became only the second Italian president of the European Parliament since the assembly was elected by universal suffrage.
Dr Metsola is the frontrunner to succeed Mr Sassoli as EP president
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