Malta took on the EU Council rotating presidency since 1 January 2017. On the agenda of priorities that the Maltese leaders want to impose at the European level include migration, security, single market, social inclusion, neighborhood policy and maritime policies given the strategic location of the island in the Mediterranean, informs Times of Malta.

As of today, Malta has become the smallest country to ever take on the presidency of the Council of the EU, the institution comprising the leaders of each Member State.

The presidency rotates between Member States every six months, and while it does not mean the country will be running the EU until June, Malta’s first turn in the hot-seat does bring with it significant responsibility – and opportunity.

For six months, Malta will plan and chair all ministerial meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg, with the exception of the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council.

It will host a number of high-level meetings and conferences here in Malta, including a summit of EU heads of government in February.

It will also have the opportunity to influence and shape the EU’s agenda in line with its own priorities and goals. Malta’s priorities have already been clearly laid out: migration, security, single market, social inclusion, neighbourhood policy and maritime affairs.

But the presidency will also have Brexit to contend with, facing the possibility of the formal process being triggered in the next six months.

The Prime Minister has said Malta is “geared to handle” the start of negotiations, and the government will look to play “an honest broker role” between the UK and the EU.

Source: Times of Malta