After meeting with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Monday, Salvini told the press that Italy is the closest tie the US currently has in the EU.

“At a moment when European Union institutions are fragile and changing significantly, Italy wants to be the most solid, effective, coherent and credible partner for the US,” Salvini said.

The leader of the far-right League party was also scheduled to meet vice president Mike Pence in the White House during his trip, and had expressed pleasure at the prospect of speaking with President Donald Trump, although no meeting was planned.

Salvini has been forging close relations with Trump since the US President’s election campaign.

He has explicitly linked the two populist governments (not just when filmed sporting a “Make America Great Again” cap during the EU elections), which he says are alike not only in “economic and commercial interests” but also “our common vision of the world, of values, of work, family and rights”.

Salvini cited economic common ground in “the themes of fiscal reform, taxes, defence and the protection of the national economy,” saying “the economic results [in the US] are proving Trump right”.

This month the EU commenced procedures toward fining Italy €3.1 billion for failing to reduce its massive public debt.

The Italian government has been proposing a flat tax and is currently seeking to avert the infringement procedure by the European Commission for breaking the EU’s debt rules.

Salvini said that a “Trumpian” tax-cutting budget is needed in Italy to give the economy a much-needed shot in the arm.