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

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

Information requested

Following the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Decision 065/2023 please find attached the information in relation to your request for:
“(a) any reference to concluding that the Public Interest test or indeed the section 29(1)(a) exemption should be applied when responding to a previous request (202100203619) and
(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.”


Exemptions exist under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act for information concerning the formulation or development of government policy, the free and frank provision of advice, and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.

This information was initially withheld on those grounds as it concerns the early drafting and development of policy on how Scotland could re-join the EU, some of which pre-dates the pandemic and other significant developments such as the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). Some information was also considered out of scope.

Following the Scottish Information Commissioner’s decision about the applicability of exemptions in this case, and about the scope of the request, the Scottish Government is now publishing this information in full. However, it should be noted that much of this information, some of which was written several years ago, was never seen by Ministers and does not reflect current government thinking. The policy proposals in these documents were never approved by Ministers and it would therefore be inaccurate to suggest that any of the details within reflect past or present government policy.

To give people the information they need to make an informed choice about Scotland's constitutional future, Ministers will shortly publish a paper setting out how an independent Scotland would re-join the EU, in order to escape the damage of Brexit and enjoy the benefits of being back in the EU as a full, equal member. The proposals in this paper will be open to public and expert scrutiny, following a rigorous internal civil service quality assurance process, and formal approval by Ministers.

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.

FoI Decision 065-2023 - Information released


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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