Brexit – Social protection – Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to a written question in the Senate (7 January 2021)


Protecting citizens of the European Union and the United Kingdom who, before the withdrawal, based their life choices on rights linked to free movement under European Union law was France’s first priority from the outset of the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Following the UK Government’s notification of its intention to exit the European Union in 2017, the sequence of negotiations led to the conclusion of an agreement laying down the UK’s withdrawal arrangements. The agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020, includes a chapter dedicated to citizens’ rights, which safeguards the right to live, work and study for British nationals living in the EU and EU nationals living in the UK before the end of the transition period initiated by the Withdrawal Agreement (31 December 2020). Periods of employment of EU nationals who worked in the UK and paid social security contributions there before the transition period ended will therefore be taken into account when it comes to the creation and calculation of pension rights in France and the UK. Similarly, their healthcare will continue to be covered under EU rules on the coordination of social security systems, which will continue to apply.

The implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, and of the guarantees relating to citizens’ rights in particular, is a priority focus point for France and the European Union. Our vigilance is reflected in close monitoring of the implementation of these rights, particularly as part of the dialogue between the UK and the European Union in the framework of the Joint Committee under the Withdrawal Agreement, to ensure that they are fully effective./.