Enrico Letta is a former prime minister of Italy and secretary of the Democratic Occasion. He’s additionally president of the Jacques Delors Institute.
In politics, there are those that observe the course of historical past, after which there are those that change historical past. David Sassoli, who died Tuesday aged 65, was among the many latter. As president of the European Parliament, he left an indelible mark on European historical past, and he did so by defending and strengthening democracy through the coronavirus pandemic, the Continent’s hardest problem because the beginning of the European Union.
Whereas every little thing was closing and the entire of Europe was going into lockdown, whereas worldwide journey and flights stopped and the lights of many establishments went out, David made a brave and far-sighted selection that may make historical past. He selected to maintain the Parliament open, making the establishment a protagonist at a vital second, when probably the most pure factor would have been to go the opposite approach.
Below David’s watch, the Parliament innovated and continued to perform remotely, due to the appliance of recent applied sciences. It was a primary in historical past, and a acutely aware and needed selection, to proceed making the voices of tens of millions of residents heard throughout the European establishments. “Democracy can’t be suspended, particularly within the midst of such a dramatic disaster,” David stated, as he opened the primary distant Parliament session.
As a result of David stored Parliament open, it turned the protagonist in choices that led to the beginning of the NextGenerationEU restoration plan and a Europe of solidarity. What would the European response to the pandemic have been like if it had remained closed? Definitely completely different, I’m satisfied.
Due to David’s contribution, Europe selected solidarity and assist for the weakest; it selected to assist the nations most affected by the disaster (beginning with Italy). Not like what was finished 10 years in the past, it selected to beat nationwide vetoes and to start out taking the primary steps towards a social Europe and a Europe of well being.
David confirmed management and dedication, and he managed to take action with out ever dropping his kindness, his drive for inclusion and his grace. He did so by battles for rights, democracy and the rule of regulation. His dedication to higher European integration and higher closeness between establishments and residents was fixed.
He fought to make establishments open and clear, within the agency perception that “the protection and promotion of our founding values of freedom, dignity and solidarity have to be pursued daily inside and out of doors the EU,” to make use of the phrases he spoke throughout his inauguration as Parliament president.
These phrases and the sentiment they expressed formed his mandate, throughout which his authoritative voice was repeatedly raised in protection of EU residents who risked having their democratic rights denied — by intolerant reforms in Poland and Hungary, or by authoritarian drifts in different EU nations.
David was very clear that Europe’s energy is realized in its capability to develop an institutional structure centered on the values of democracy and solidarity, and subsequently able to decreasing injustices and social inequalities. He referred to as on European establishments to make higher efforts at guaranteeing safety and help to those that really feel defeated by the epochal adjustments of the final decade.
His sensitivity to this difficulty is the best political legacy that David leaves us. Confronted with the challenges that also await us, we are going to all should show that we’re as much as it.