LONDON, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 20th july,2016) - Britain will no longer take on the rotating EU presidency as planned next year, relinquishing the role in the wake of the Brexit vote, Prime Minister Theresa May's office said Wednesday. May informed European Council president Donald Tusk in a phone call on Tuesday evening, their first since she took over from David Cameron last week. "The prime minister suggested that the UK should relinquish the rotating Presidency of the Council, currently scheduled for the second half of 2017, noting that we would be prioritising the negotiations to leave the European Union," a spokeswoman said.
"Donald Tusk welcomed the prime minister's swift decision on this issue which would allow the council to put alternative arrangements in place," she said. The presidency of the Council -- the gathering of national ministers from the EU's 28 member states -- rotates among members every six months. EU ambassadors will meet later on Wednesday to decide who will replace Britain and an EU diplomat told AFP that Belgium was a "serious option" as a replacement. Slovakia currently has the presidency, until December 31, followed by Malta. Britain was due to take it from July 1 until December 31, 2017.