David Cameron has sparked indignation after announcing he will not attend the first meeting with EU leaders since submitting his reform demands.
He will be represented by his Dutch counterpart at a conference of world leaders called by European Council president Donald Tusk after the international migration summit.
Mark Rutte will attend on behalf of the UK because Mr Cameron will be busy welcoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in London.
His role will raise eyebrows after he warned that a British exit from the EU would be a “killer” for the City of London, leaving the UK as a “mid-sized economy” in the mid-Atlantic.
Mr Rutte said: “It would no doubt take away a lot of economic potential, and be a killer for the London financial centre.”
He added a British exit from the EU make Britain “a mid-sized economy in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in neither America nor Europe”.
Outraged Ukip leader Nigel Farage has branded the Tory leader’s absence as the “greatest surrender” yet of British sovereignty.
Mr Cameron discussed his proposals for reform with fellow EU leaders on Tuesday in the Maltese capital, but will return to London before the informal meeting of heads of government.
Although Home Secretary Theresa May will be in Valletta for the closing stages of the summit on the migration crisis, she will not be attending the leaders’ meeting.
“Not only are we in a small minority at the European Council, but now we are being represented by a foreign country.”
Ukip leader Mr Farage said: “This is the greatest surrender of British sovereignty yet.