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Prime Minister Draghi’s address to Parliament at the commemorations for David Sassoli

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

[The following video is available in Italian only]

The first memories of David Sassoli that come to mind, as others have also remembered him, are of his kindness, humanity and altruism;
his passion for journalism, which made him one of the most well-known and well-loved faces among all Italians;
his civic-mindedness and ability to listen, guiding his political career and earning him the respect of both his fellow party members and his adversaries.

However, both on behalf of the Government and personally, I wish to remember David Sassoli above all as an Italian and a key figure at the service of the European Union, its institutions and its citizens.
As President of the European Parliament, his rare ability to combine idealism and mediation made him a protagonist in one of the most difficult periods of recent history.
A careful and authoritative voice, defending European values and the rights of the weakest.

In his speeches, Sassoli described his vision of the European Union: representative, efficient, cohesive.
Sassoli believed that EU institutions need to be “close to citizens” first and foremost, and to make progress through dialogue and discussion.
And Parliament is the place for this dialogue, for this discussion.
Parliament is where the European Union grows and becomes stronger.
And Parliament is where, in his words, “democracy, multilateralism and cooperation” are promoted, in the face of the temptation of populism and authoritarianism.
This is especially true during a health and economic crisis such as the one we are still experiencing.

Sassoli wanted a European Union able to achieve results, even immediate ones;
able to protect its citizens, support their well-being and help them build their future.
Sassoli never ceased to call attention to the results achieved in these years.
From the Brexit agreement to ambitious environmental protection measures and the common fight against the pandemic; to the creation of the NextGenerationEU programme and the drawing up of National Recovery and Resilience Plans.
In his words, “the tremendous amount of work that is going into the recovery plans must be matched by their meticulous implementation, in line with the priorities we set together”.

It was Sassoli’s view that the real objective of these efforts must be the construction of a social Europe that pays attention to the needs of workers and of the most vulnerable. 
“The European project that we want to build – he said - must focus on the fight against poverty and the reduction of inequalities, it must take care of the dignity of people”.
Such as that of the migrants who try to come to Europe and for whom the European Union must put in place common policies that do not leave the border countries alone.

“The values we hold dear are not indestructible” – David Sassoli reminded us in one of his recent speeches.

During his life, David safeguarded, defended and promoted those values.
It is now up to all of us to continue to do the same.

Thank you.

[Courtesy translation]