(Brussels) “The European Council reiterates its commitment to an orderly withdrawal on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement and calls for its timely ratification and effective implementation”. At the end of their summit in Brussels, the 27 EU leaders reiterate their position as the UK moves closer to Brexit following the outcome of yesterday’s election. The European Council “reconfirms its desire to establish as close as possible a future relationship with the UK”. “The future relationship will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations and ensure a level playing field. To this end the European Council invites the Commission to submit to the Council a draft comprehensive mandate for a future relationship with the UK immediately after its withdrawal. It invites the General Affairs Council to adopt swiftly the relevant decisions and negotiating mandate”. French Michel Barnier will continue to lead the negotiations on the EU-UK future relationship.