The United Kingdom (U.K.) voted to leave the European Union (EU) in 2016 and officially left on 1 February 2020 after both sides had concluded a Withdrawal Agreement which facilitated an orderly departure. This Agreement includes chapters on Citizens’ Rights, the Financial Settlement, other separation issues, and the Protocol on Northern Ireland.

The Agreement also provided for a transitional period which gave national administrations, businesses, and citizens time to prepare for the changes expected from 1 January 2021. During this 11-month period, although the U.K. had formally left the Union, was still bound by EU rules. This transitional period was also an opportunity for both parties to engage in negotiations on the terms that would regulate their future relationship. In this respect, a deal on the future partnership was agreed on 24 December 2020, whereby the European Commission and the United Kingdom agreed in principle on the:

  • Trade and Cooperation Agreement;
  • Agreement concerning security procedures for exchanging and protecting classified information; and
  • Agreement for cooperation on the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

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