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[BRUSSELS] EU leaders will hold a summit without Britain in Malta in early 2017 as part of efforts to map out a future for the bloc following the Brexit vote, Malta's prime minister said Monday.
The meeting of 27 leaders will follow a similar gathering in the Slovakian capital Bratislava this Friday, and comes ahead of a meeting in Rome in March that ties in with the 60th anniversary of the EU's foundation.
Maltese premier Joseph Muscat tweeted that he had agreed with EU President Donald Tusk that "EU leaders will meet in Malta beginning 2017 to increase momentum for new idea of Europe".
An EU official told AFP the Malta meeting would be "like Bratislava" and "part of the reflection process".
The Bratislava summit is the first in a series aimed at relaunching the European Union after Britain's dramatic June 23 decision to leave, even as the bloc faces a number of other crises.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is also set to lay out new priorities in his annual State of the European Union speech at the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
Mr Tusk has said he wants to use the summit in Bratislava to plot a new roadmap for Europe with security concerns, borders and defence at the top of the agenda.
Mr Tusk said earlier this month that he wants the 27 EU leaders to "rebuild a sense of political unity in the months to come, also ahead of our meeting in Rome in March 2017, 60 years after the founding of our community."