BREAKING NEWS

Malta took up the six-month presidency of the EU on New Year’s Day.

And the tiny island nation will have an overflowing in-tray during its time at the helm of the bloc.

Many EU officials spent the US election campaign mocking Donald Trump.

Now they will have to face the reality of working with him as the next president of the United States when he takes office on January 20th.

He’s been a staunch critic of European defence spending, climate change and free trade – amongst many other things.

2017 will also mark two key elections in France and Germany.

French President Francois Hollande is not standing, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel is aiming to win a fourth term in office.

Merkel has since U-turned on her immigration policy that saw her allow more than one million refugees and migrants into her country in 2015.

In September she admitted that she had made a mistake in sticking by her ‘open door policy’, saying that for some time the government had lost control of the situation.

The German chancellor will be a key player in the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to ask for the opening of Brexit talks at an EU summit in two months time.

According to EU treaties, they need to be wrapped up – in theory at least – inside two years.