Bucharest, July 27, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Romania will be holding the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union 1 January – 30 June 2019, following a recent revision of the order in which the member states will hold the presidency until 2030 because of the UK decision to relinquish the presidency in the second half of 2017 in the aftermath of a 23 June referendum in favour of leaving the European Union.
The decision to bring forward by six months the order of presidencies, starting from 1 July 2017, was taken on Tuesday by the Council of the European Union, according to a press statement released by the organisation. Replacing the UK will be Estonia.
Holding the presidency in H1, 2017 will be Malta. In 2018, Bulgaria will hold it in the first half, while Austria will follow in the second half. Romania will take over the presidency from Austria on 1 January 2019, and hand it over to Finland on 1 July 2019.
The European Council also decided to add Croatia, which was not yet a member state at the time of the original decision, for the period January-June 2020.
The presidency of the council rotates among the EU member states every six months. During this six-month period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the council.
The UK last Wednesday announced it was relinquishing the rotating presidency in the second half of 2017, the first actual consequence of the UK’s decision by referendum to leave the EU. British Minister Theresa May explained that her country will be very busy negotiating its exit.