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Remembering David Sassoli: The Journalist Who Became European Parliament President 

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The world woke up to the news that David Sassoli, the European Parliament President, has died with leaders across the globe sharing their condolences for the fallen political leader. 

Born in Florence on 30th May 1956, Sassoli has been President of the 705-seat parliament since July 2019, but his illustrious career spanned decades, starting off in journalism before ending up at one of the bloc’s most important positions.

The Italian national first made a name for himself in journalism, starting his career at Il Tempo before moving on to Il Giorno. 

During his seven-year stint with the Rome-based publication during the 1980s, Sassoli witness some vital turning points in Europe’s history, including the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Still, Sassoli would really start becoming a household name in 1992 after becoming a news reporter and newscaster for TG3. 

He became known for his work with Michele Santoro, eventually hosting his own program on the channel. 

Sassoli eventually became the anchorman of TG1, becoming one of the most well-known journalists in Italy. He was a rousing success and was appointed as the Deputy Director of the channel in 2007. 

A career in politics was on the horizon, with Sassoli leaving a nearly three-decade career in journalism to become a member of the European Parliament in 2009 as part of the Democratic Party. 

He was elected with a massive 412,502 votes, the most out of any candidate in his district. He served as the PD’s leader in Parliament between 2009 and 2014. 

Sassoli did have other ambitions, even running for Mayor of Rome in 2013, finishing second place.

He was re-elected to the European Parliament in 2014, eventually becoming the Vice President of the EP.

After the 2019 elections, Sassoli was put forward to become the new President of the European Parliament and replace fellow Italian Antonio Tajani by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

He was the seventh Italian to have held the office, which is considered one of the bloc’s top jobs and involves chairing sessions and overseeing the parliament’s activities.

In his acceptance speech, Sassoli talked about the European project as a dream of peace and democracy. He said European citizens showed that they still believed in the project and talked about being proud of European diversity.

In his first public act as the newly elected president, Sassoli paid tribute to all the victims of terrorism in Europe.

As a sign of solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic, he used the parliamentary premises to prepare meals for families in need and to test for COVID-19.

Sassoli died on 11th January 2021. He has been in hospital since 26th December with “a serious complication due to a dysfunction of the immune system”.

Sassoli will be remembered as a good-natured man who earned Parliament’s respect with his sense of organisation and loyalty to the bloc. 

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

RIP

 

READ NEXT: ‘Europe Has Lost A Leader, I Lost A Friend’: Roberta Metsola On David Sassoli’s Death

Julian is the Editor at Lovin Malta with a particular interest in politics, the environment, social issues, and human interest stories.

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