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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Israel-Europe Relations: A New Paradigm – Giulio Maria Terzi

Filed under: Europe and Israel

On March 19, 2018, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended a conference on “Israel-Europe Relations: A New Paradigm,” organized by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. In this video, he discusses the relationship between Israel and Europe and why they should work together.

Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Let me say, first of all, how pleased I am to be here at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs for an extraordinarily interesting seminar, among persons with direct knowledge, who have been in these areas for many years in various capacities, as I have been, and to share opinions and to try to sort out some concrete proposal on where to go to improve the general relationship between the European Union and Israel. It is not necessary to repeat how much room there is for improvement, as they usually say in the diplomatic world. There is not only room for improvement, but there is a necessity and urgency for an improvement of the relationship between the European Union and Israel because of the situation in the region. We know what it is. There are always existing Israeli-Palestinian difficulties and the stalemate which has occurred in negotiations since quite a number of years. But there is an evident deterioration on many fronts, not only in a security aspect but in the true communication line for diplomacy and interstate and intrastate relationships.

Let me mention briefly what are the main points in my opinion. The main points are: there is a lack of understanding between Europeans and Israelis, especially on the concerns. The major concern for Israel is about security and the future of its people. The main concern is Iran. There is a strong difference of views between the European governments and the Israeli government about the vision that Iran has in the world and in the region about its role, about its responsibilities, and the kind of influence and interference that it can have in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. Above all, and first of all, is the question of the existence of Israel as a state which wants to live in peace with its neighbors and in full security for his own people. So this is a major, major point because the Europeans have a virtual understanding of the Iranian reality which doesn’t grasp what is in fact the radicalization that they are bringing, not only to the region but worldwide, and of course in Europe, and their continued effort to destabilize the entire region, bringing really a big burden on security that we are seeing. So I think this is the first point where Europeans and Israelis should to be able to discuss more openly, frankly, and to try to restart the process which was defined in the past as a process of strategic partnership. There is no other playing field but true strategic progress between Europe and Israel, because there is a commonality of interest and the commonalities of values and culture.