Malta would share UK’s EU presidency with Estonia
Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, said on Tuesday that his government would like to share the Council of the European Union presidency of the United Kingdom with Estonia. After the UK’s EU membership referendum, the country likely won’t take its turn.
“If Malta takes the EU presidency for a whole year, then it could prove too much of a strain on our public resources,” Muscat told the daily Malta Today. “Ideally, we will pass it on straight to Estonia, but we are ready to reach a form of compromise, such as the presidency being shared between Malta and Estonia. However, we will need to be aided financially to see this through.”
After the UK’s Brexit referendum, it isn’t clear whether or not it will take over the presidency from July to December 2017. Both its immediate predecessor Malta and its successor Estonia are small countries with limited means to hold the presidency for a whole year.
Estonia's EU presidency was planned to last from January to June 2018.
Estonian representatives expressed hope that clarity regarding the UK presidency would be reached in the next few weeks, because otherwise it would make organizing the presidency more complicated and also more expensive. Some officials told BNS that decisions regarding the UK's presidency might not be made before the fall, so both the Maltese and Estonian governments want to be ready in case they have to take over.