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EU parliament leader has died

Leading EU figures have paid tributes to European Parliament President David Sassoli, who has died at the age of 65.

The Italian former journalist and centre-left politician had been seriously ill for more than two weeks and cancelled all official activities.

Mr Sassoli was admitted to hospital in Italy last month due to a serious complication with his immune system.

His role is seen as one of the EU’s top jobs, and includes overseeing parliament’s activities.

EU flags in Brussels have been lowered to fly at half-mast in his memory. Leaders and officials from around Europe have been reflecting on his life and work.

Many of the tributes were made in Italian, reflecting Mr Sassoli’s linguistic preference despite the predominance of English and French in EU business

“Our union loses an Italian patriot, a great European and an indefatigable humanist,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

The German leader, Olaf Scholz, said that Europe “has lost a committed parliament president, Italy a savvy politician and Germany a good friend”.

Dozens of members of the European Parliament gathered on the steps of the building in Brussels for a minute’s silence to remember him, followed by a round of applause.

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