13 January, 2022 – It is with great sadness that the GPM learned of the passing of European Parliament President David Sassoli. In honor of Mr.Sassoli, GPM Executive Committee member Mayor Leoluca Orlando of Palermo (Italy) has shared the following reflections.

David Sassoli: antifascist President who took a stand for welcoming migrants

In these hours, we feel the pain intensely for the loss of a good person, a serious journalist, and a testament to good politics and institutional representation. Those of us who knew him feel the need to reflect and give renewed life to an attentive politician. In the face of the selfishness of states and the suffocating othering of closed groups, David offered  respect for every person and promoted the communitarian dimension of life

As a journalist, and as a politician, even as the head of the most important assembly of our continent, David’s style was one of extraordinary lightness. Calm in his communication, but rigorous in his beliefs, he always bravely expressed his respect for liberty and human dignity, principles sometimes rattled by members of the European Union. His attention to freedom of expression, interreligious and intercultural dialogue, as well as the right to life for migrants were pure expressions of his vision.

I still recall his committed stand in favor of my proposal to institute a European civil service for rescue operations, to call on the European Union to take charge of rescuing thousands of migrants at sea, while expressing appreciation for the actions of NGOs. In his role as President of the EU Parliament, he officially welcomed those NGOs and gave a voice to them the highest institution he represented.

David Sassoli will remain alive and among us if we are able to take inspiration from his lead, from his life. This is what can be done to alleviate the suffering of his family and those who knew him.

Leoluca Orlando
Mayor of Palermo, Italy
Member of the Executive Committee
Global Parliament of Mayors