Britain was due to chair the European Council's rotating presidency. But UK will no longer get EU council presidency next year because of Brexit.
Britain will not take up its scheduled presidency of the EU Council next year and will instead focus on its preparations to leave the bloc. The announcement about this is the first key responsibility relinquished by Britain in the wake of the EU referendum result.
The move came to light in a phone call on Tuesday between the new UK Prime Minister and the council president Donald Tusk.
The presidency of the council rotates on a six-montlhy basis, offering each of the EU's 28 member states the opportunity to shape the EU's agenda. Slovakia is the current president, with Estonia set to follow the UK's slot. Now from 2017 on the chair of the EU Council Estonia will be, in 6 month earlier than was scheduled.
Functionally Slovakia chairs meetings of the Council, where ministers and heads of states meet. It also determines its agendas, and sets a programme of work for the six month period.
The UK was due to take over for the second half of 2017, but it is possible that Ms May, UK Prime Minister will by that point have triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, beginning the formal multi-year process of Brexit.