European visits by Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture: FOI review

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

Information requested

Whether exemptions under s32(1)(a) have been correctly applied? Albeit without having had sight of the exempted information, I find it difficult to understand how publication could prejudice substantially relations between the UK and any other state or risk such prejudice.


I have been asked to look at your request afresh, to decide whether the original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications, as appropriate, or that a fresh decision should be substituted. I can confirm that I was not involved in the handling or decision-making around the original response.

In conducting my review, I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed with modification.

I enclose some further information relating to the Cabinet Secretary’s visit to France in October 2022. Please find enclosed the additional information at Annex A.

I am satisfied that the information exempt from release meets the public interest test for the s32(1)(a) International relations and endorse the reasoning as set out in the original response. In addition I would add, the free and frank discussions reflecting on the bilateral relations between Scotland and various partner countries were entered in to with the Scottish Government on the understanding that it would be treated as being in confidence.

If the Scottish Government does not respect this confidence, the UK Government’s relations with other states and its ability to protect and promote UK interests will be substantially prejudiced. Other states are likely to be more reluctant to enter in to discussions with Scotland or other parts of the United Kingdom in future, which would reduce both the frequency and openness of communications with the UK.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI -202300344431 - Annex A


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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