A moment of silence in Italy’s parliament marked the death of former prime minister Giulio Andreotti, 94.
Andreotti led Italy seven times – and played a role in 39 of the 45 governments that ruled the country between 1947 and 1992.
A centrist, he was a prominent member of the now-defunct Christian Democracy party that dominated post-war Italian politics for almost 50 years.
Instrumental in leading Italy into the United Nations, NATO and Europe, he believed that a dynamic and flexible European Union could bring out the best in its members.
During a 2009 interview with euronews, Andreotti explained: “In my opinion, Europe has to be, and will be, something that evolves. It’s not something that can be perfect from one day to the next. But it must always take the best of all its members and work to rectify the defects that we all have.”
Asked whether he feared death, Andreotti replied: “I believe the best thing is not to think about death, but at the same time not to have an illusion of immortality.”
A private funeral is to be held on May 7 in Rome.