Italy is considering launching a permanent mission to Jerusalem in the light of the European Union's refusal to allow its member states to transfer their embassies to Israel in the city.
According to Italian officials, the mission will focus on cultural issues in an attempt to strengthen bilateral ties.
Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Guglielmo Picchi, who also serves as one of the leaders of the right-wing NYPD party, completed his official visit to Israel on Wednesday by visiting the Jerusalem Public Affairs Center at the invitation of President Dr Dore Gold and researcher and former Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein.
Picchi's visit to Israel aimed to lay the foundations for a visit by the Italian Interior Minister and the head of the North League, Mato Salvini.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, Picchi said Israel's understanding of Europe and its positions had undergone important changes late. He said the forthcoming European Parliament elections to be held in May 2019 could also influence the European Commission's approach to Israel if the new right-wing parties gain power.
"The European Union is a very complicated body with various sensitivities on the part of its member states. It is Italy's job to ensure that there is no bias in the union against Israel, to ensure open dialogue and sincerity with Israel, and to try to to prevent the adoption of negative resolutions on Israel, "he said.
"My boss, Matteo Salvini, has said this sometimes publicly … He wants to be the Israeli guard dog and prevent the negative consequences of Europe's attitude towards Israel.
Q: Is it easier today to defend Israel's position in the European Union than in the past?
"The atmosphere has changed dramatically, there is a different approach to Israel, Israel is a free country in the Middle East, we have to protect this freedom with all the means at our disposal, we can not allow" liberal " the entities to harm Israeli democracy. Today there is a much more positive approach to Israel. "
Q: Will the EU be willing to invest the aid funds currently being invested in UNRWA to resolve the Palestinian regime in refugee camps and establish them as citizens of their country of residence?
"Italy will try very hard to allow these things."
Q: Does this include the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
"It is not the concern of other countries to decide what will be the capital of Israel. The Italian government is not yet in a position to adopt such an attitude."