The legacy of David Sassoli

David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament from 2019 until his premature death in January 2022.
He is the one who commissioned the report “Proposal for a Sovereign and Democratic Digitalisation of Europe”.


We need to see deep reflection and political action in tune with a form of digital transformation that has at its core people and their rights, implementing protocols and open infrastructures to make technology an opportunity for the many and not a privilege of the few.

The EU needs to invest in creating its own alternatives in the management of strategic infrastructures for the economy of the future in order to be able to build a digital society that respects rights, is innovative and gives citizens a voice in decision- making.
David Sassoli – EUCO, October 2020


We are too accustomed to thinking of the Web in terms of platforms and algorithms, and less in terms of rights. What we need is to offer democratic answers to questions that may seem technical when in fact they are not..

These circumstances now bestow upon the European Union the responsibility of being the point of reference for defining access rights. COVID-19 has laid bare what was already evident: digitalisation will not wait. It is not a question of whether it will happen, but rather whether it will be for everyone.

New leadership of the dialogue between public institutions, businesses and citizens is indispensable if we are to promote distributive and non-monopolistic logics.

This is why it is necessary to find a path towards digitalisation tailored to humanity.

Per una digitalizzazione a misura di umanità – David Sassoli, July 2020


David Sassoli was a man of deeply democratic convictions, convictions that he put into practice in all spheres of political action, from strengthening the role and dignity of the institution he represented to cultivating a rare intuition in fields that until relatively recently have escaped the radar of institutional politics.

Before many others, David Sassoli saw the digital transition as a crucial opportunity to further democracy and the rights of European citizens. As he said in one of the many statements and speeches he made on these issues during his term in office: “Democracy will only advance if the Internet and the digital environment are also democratised”.

The prominent role played by Sassoli in this field has not gone unnoticed, and can be considered part of his political legacy. The European Commission itself has recalled this fact in the draft “Declaration of digital principles and rights to guide the digital transformation in the Union”, in which they underline Sassoli’s pioneering role in promoting Internet access as a human right.

David Sassoli’s involvement in the issue of access is attested to by his correspondence with professor and politician Romano Prodi —published in La Reppublica — which culminated in a meeting organised by the former as part of the Ideas for Change cycle of debates. This meeting which took the title of “Internet access: a new human right”, brought together David Sassoli, Romano Prodi, Ursula von der Leyen president of the European Commission, Sir Tim Berners Lee founder of the World Wide Web, and Simona Levi founder of Xnet / Institute for Democratic Digitalisation in the Digital Age and author of this report. .

This report has been developed from this meeting and was commissioned by the then President of the European Parliament.