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Photograph: Photo by PeteLinforth, used under CC0

Croatia may assume the rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2020 and a formal decision on this is expected in the next few days, Hina learned from an EU source on Friday.

"The matter was discussed on Wednesday at a meeting of the COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives), a body consisting of the ambassadors of the member states, and the idea received great support," the source said.

The Council of the EU has determined the order of EU presidencies from 1 January 2007 until 1 July 2020, according to which Malta will succeed Slovakia as EU president in the first half of 2017. After that the EU rotating presidency was to be assumed by the United Kingdom, but it has given up the presidency following its referendum to leave the EU.

As a result, Estonia, which is scheduled to take the EU presidency in the first half of 2018, may assume this role in the second half of 2017 instead of the UK, the source explained.

Bulgaria would assume the EU presidency in the first half of 2018, Austria in the second half of 2018, and Romania and Finland would be EU presidents in 2019. It is being proposed that in the first half of 2020 the rotating presidency be held by Croatia.

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