Timeframe required for an independent Scotland to re-join the EU: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

In relation to a previous request made (202100203619), you requested (a) “any reference to how you have concluded that the Public Interest test or indeed the section 29(1)(a) exemption should be applied. Could you firstly therefore please forward me any documentation you have which details this” and you requested (b) “any analysis that the Scottish Government have carried out, since 2016, which assesses the timeframe which would be required for an Independent Scotland to re-join the EU”.


Attached is a copy of some of the information requested. For ease of reference, your request and our response has been separated into parts (a) and (b) as above.

(a) With regards your previous request/s we are releasing the ‘statement of compliance’ documents that were drawn up for previous FOISA requests 202100203619 and 202100195000. As one of these statements relates to a Review Case of an earlier request, both documents are being released to fulfil your current request. These documents are attached separately in Annex A.

An exemption under section 38(1)(a) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of this information because it is personal information of which you are the data subject, and so it is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

(b) Attached is a copy of some of the information requested in Annex B.

As part of our searches, two documents which were previously partially released to you were considered under this request. Please note that these documents were considered afresh, in their entirety, in relation to part (b) of this request. However, due to reasons set out in Annex C, there are no further disclosures to those already made to you through previous requests/replies. I have therefore reattached these documents as they were previously provided to you, at Annex B1 and B2, for ease of reference.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under section 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy); section 30(b)(i) (the free and frank provision of advice) and section 30(b)(ii) (the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation) of FOISA apply to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in Annex C.

Whilst it is not Scottish Government’s own analysis, during our information searches a copy of an Institute for Government publication on a topic related to part (b) of your request was identified. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you however, for ease of reference, you can find this publication – from March 2021 here: https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/scotland_eu_border.pdf

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

FOI202100227221 - Annex


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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