'It's payback time' Estonia to take Britain's slot as president of EU

Estonia president Kersti KaljulaidGETTYEstonia president Kersti Kaljulaid

Britain gave up its right to do so after it deciding it needed to focus instead on negotiating the country's exit from the Brussels club. 

Now Estonia will step in to the role six months earlier than planned, replacing Malta in the first half of 2017, vowing it is “payback time” for the EU’s help following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Estonia’s role would be focused on building a “secure future for all Europeans”.

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Speaking in Tallinn, he said: “I am convinced that this Estonian presidency will build on this positive momentum and contribute to a more prosperous and more secure future for all Europeans. 

“The programme, the priorities you have set out clearly shows that: from security to sustainability, from protection to prosperity.”

On the eve of their takeover President Kersti Kaljulaid said: “When we regained independence, we

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