On 25 November 2018, the leaders of the European Union settled the terms of the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (which was nevertheless revised in October 2019). Said Agreement, having been rejected on several occasions, was finally approved by the British Parliament on 20 December 2019 (milestones of the negotiations can be consulted on the Commission website).
As a result of this Withdrawal Agreement, signed by the British Government and by the EU institutions, the United Kingdom has ceased to be a Member State of the European Union and is now considered a third country. Although the Withdrawal Agreement entered into force on 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom remained fully subject to EU law during a transition period which lasted until 31 December 2020.
Following Brexit, the European Union will respect the acquired rights of those persons who, relying on the European project, had made use of the free movement of workers up to the date of withdrawal; future rights that can be acquired on the basis of work carried out before that date will also be guaranteed.
For the Government of Spain, the issue of citizens' rights has been one of the main priorities throughout the negotiations. A significant number of Spaniards have worked or are currently working in the United Kingdom, and a community particularly affected would be that of frontier workers operating in Gibraltar.
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement encompasses not only trade in goods and services, but also a wide range of areas of interest for the European Union, such as investment, competition, State aid, fiscal transparency, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, fisheries, and data protection. It also includes a Protocol on Social Security Coordination.
The Protocol on Social Security Coordination of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part, shall be applicable as of 1 January 2021.
As regards social security coordination, the Protocol on Social Security Coordination sets forth that the Member States and the United Kingdom shall coordinate their social security systems in order to secure the social security entitlements of the persons covered therein.