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As UK prepares to leave EU, six-month presidency relinquished

The United Kingdom will relinquish its six-month presidency of the European Council.

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing street in London on 20 July 20 2016 on her way to the House of Commons to face her first session of Prime Ministers Questions. Picture: Niklas Halle'n/AFP.

LONDON - The UK will relinquish its six-month presidency of the European Council as it prepares to leave the EU.

Britain was due to take up the role which rotates between the 28 member countries in the second half of next year.

The news comes as the new UK prime minister talks to her counterparts in Europe with future trade high on her agenda.

Theresa May is preparing to meet her German counterpart Angela Merkel for the first time since becoming prime minister. Tomorrow, she'll have talks with French President François Hollande.

May said maintaining strong trading links in Europe was vital to ensuring the UK "made a success" of Brexit.

However, European leaders say there'll be no discussions about trade until the UK formally resigns from the union.

Perhaps to begin the meeting on a positive note, it's been announced the UK won't take up the presidency of the council next year, a role often used by member countries to push forward their own agendas.