We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Richie Reid please sign in and let everyone know.

Copenhagen criteria

We're waiting for Richie Reid to read a recent response and update the status.

Dear Scottish Government,

I have noted that the language being used by the Scottish Government in relation to the possibility of Scotland being independent after Brexit seems to "an independent European country", not an "independent country in the EU". As such, there are two parts to my query.

1. Details of any guidance given in relation to the use of the two phrases above.
2. Any correspondence or analysis the Scottish Government has carried out on our eligibility for EU membership, either if we could continue to "remain" in the EU or having to reapply under the Copenhagen criteria once the UK has left.

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid,

Thank you for your request dated 11 August 2019 under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for details of any guidance given
in relation to the use of “an independent European country” and not
“independent country in the EU”. You also seek any correspondence or
analysis the Scottish Government have carried out on our eligibility for
EU membership, either if we could continue to "remain" in the EU or having
to reapply under the Copenhagen criteria  once the UK has left.

We received your request on 11 August 2019 and will respond in accordance
with FOISA by 09 September 2019.  

If you have any queries, please contact me quoting case number
FoI/19/01907

Your Sincerely,

 

John Bendo

 

 

John Bendo

International Futures | Directorate for External Affairs

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh

 

 

show quoted sections

 

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid,

 

Thank you for your request dated 11 August 2019 under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for ) for details of any guidance
given in relation to the use of “an independent European country” and not
“independent country in the EU”. You also seek any correspondence or
analysis the Scottish Government have carried out on our eligibility for
EU membership, either if we could continue to "remain" in the EU or having
to reapply under the Copenhagen criteria  once the UK has left.

 

In order to identify and locate the information that you have asked for we
need some further information from you, in order to determine the exact
information you are requesting. In particular, it would be helpful to know
when asking for “correspondence”, it would be helpful to know the type of
correspondence you are seeking and the time range for the correspondence.
It might be helpful to know You may wish to be aware that all forms of
correspondence could result in the request exceeding the upper limit cost.
As I am unable to continue without this, I will put your request on hold
until I hear back from you. 

 

When we receive this further information from you we will be able to
respond to your request, in accordance with FOISA, within 20 working days
of when we receive that information.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please contact me. You may also
find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips
for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at:
[1]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR....

 

Your Sincerely,

 

John

 

John Bendo

International Futures | Directorate for External Affairs

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh

 

 

show quoted sections

 

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Scottish Government

Bendo J (John) would like to recall the message, "Freedom of Information - Clarification Required ".

show quoted sections

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid,

 

Thank you for your request dated 11 August 2019 under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for ) for details of any guidance
given in relation to the use of “an independent European country” and not
“independent country in the EU”. You also seek any correspondence or
analysis the Scottish Government have carried out on our eligibility for
EU membership, either if we could continue to "remain" in the EU or having
to reapply under the Copenhagen criteria  once the UK has left.

 

In order to identify and locate the information that you have asked for we
need some further information from you, in order to determine the exact
information you are requesting. In particular, it would be helpful to know
when asking for “correspondence”, the type of correspondence you are
seeking and the time range for the correspondence. You may wish to be
aware that all forms of correspondence could result in the request
exceeding the upper limit cost. As I am unable to continue without this, I
will put your request on hold until I hear back from you. 

 

When we receive this further information from you we will be able to
respond to your request, in accordance with FOISA, within 20 working days
of when we receive that information.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please contact me. You may also
find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips
for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at:
[1]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR....

 

Your Sincerely,

 

John

 

John Bendo

International Futures | Directorate for External Affairs

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh

 

 

 

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Dear Scottish Government,

Thank you for your response. "Correspondence" would refer to letters and emails, particularly between Government Minsters, SPADS and the EU going back to advice taken for the independence referendum of 2014 to present. I do note however you advise that my request would potentially exceed the cost limit, perhaps you could advice what you would be able to release without exceeding this limit?

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid,

 

Thanks for responding, I am emailing to double check my interpretation so
I can begin the search.

 

Does your request look for, in terms of correspondence, any emails or
letters from Scottish Government Ministers or Special Advisors to European
Union Institutions from 18 September 2014 to Present Day.

 

In terms of guiding you on what would not exceed the upper cost limit, I
would not be able to do so until we have clarified the scope.

 

Could you please confirm if this is the intended interpretation or if you
would be looking for other information?

 

Many Thanks,

 

John 

 

John Bendo

International Futures | Directorate for External Affairs

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh

 

 

show quoted sections

 

Dear Scottish Government,

Not quite, I'd be looking at any advice given prior to the independence referendum, and would therefore require details of any advice prior to this date. I would therefore alter your definition slightly to "between Scottish Government Ministers and Special Advisers or with European Union Institutions from October 2012 to Present Day".

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Reid,

 

Thanks for responding, the clock has been restarted from when your email
was received, you will receive a response by 16 September 2019.

 

Kind Regards,

 

John

 

John Bendo

International Futures | Directorate for External Affairs

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh

 

Scottish Government

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Reid,

 

Please find attached the final response to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

Best Regards,

 

John

 

John Bendo

International Futures | Directorate for External Affairs

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh |

 

 

Dear Scottish Government,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Scottish Government's handling of my FOI request 'Copenhagen criteria'.

I find it unbelievable that the Scottish Government would not find it in the public interest to make any analysis or correspondence relating to our eligibility to either remain or reapply for membership of the European Union available, especially given the focus that the Scottish Government place on the economic impact that leaving the EU will have on the Scottish Economy, and given a previous FOI makes it clear that no economic impact assessments have been carried out to cover this scenario.

I would in fact argue that it is tantamount to dereliction of duty to fail to inform the public of this when we are facing monumental decisions over our membership of both unions and only party politics would cause you want to withhold these details.

I also have no interest in "Scotland’s membership within the European Union whilst the United Kingdom remains a member state" which you seem desperate to include in every FOI response, as Brexit would render that meaningless, to be honest the inclusion of this section smacks to me of SPAD interference. As such, I would also like to see an audit trail of my request detailing any SPAD involvement. You may treat this as a separate request should you require to do so.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

1 Attachment

Our Reference: 201900003902
Your Reference: 596611-5fac04af

Dear Richie Reid ,

Thank you for your correspondence received on 06/09/2019. Your query will
be passed to the relevant area for consideration and has been given a
reference number of 201900003902. Please quote this number in all
correspondence. The Scottish Government aim to respond, where necessary,
as quickly as possible and within the stated timescale as indicated on our
website
(http://www.gov.scot/about/contact-inform...).

Yours sincerely
MiCase
Correspondence system for SG and partner agencies

The Scottish Government takes your privacy seriously. You may have written
to us because you have a question or want to make a complaint. Our privacy
notice
(https://beta.gov.scot/publications/conta...),
available on our website, sets out how we use your personal data, and your
rights when communicating with us. It is made under Article 13 of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Scottish Government

1 Attachment

Our Reference: 201900004075

Dear Richie Reid,

Thank you for your correspondence received on 06/09/2019. Your query will
be passed to the relevant area for consideration and has been given a
reference number of 201900004075. Please quote this number in all
correspondence. The Scottish Government aim to respond, where necessary,
as quickly as possible and within the stated timescale as indicated on our
website
(http://www.gov.scot/about/contact-inform...).

Yours sincerely
MiCase
Correspondence system for SG and partner agencies

The Scottish Government takes your privacy seriously. You may have written
to us because you have a question or want to make a complaint. Our privacy
notice
(https://beta.gov.scot/publications/conta...),
available on our website, sets out how we use your personal data, and your
rights when communicating with us. It is made under Article 13 of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Scottish Government

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Reid,

 

Thank you for your request of 6^th September 2019 for a review of our
response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002 (FOISA) for analysis or correspondence relating to Scotland’s
eligibility to either remain or reapply for membership of the European
Union. 

 

I have been asked by Scott Wightman, Scottish Government Director for
External Affairs to carry out the review because I was not involved in
handling your original request.  I will be looking at the case afresh to
establish whether the original response should be confirmed, with or
without modifications as appropriate, or a fresh decision should be
substituted.

 

We received your review request on 6^th September 2019 so I will respond
in accordance with FOISA by 4^th October 2019.

 

In addition, I can confirm the request “to see an audit trail of my
request detailing any SPAD involvement.” is being treated as a separate
valid request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
(FOISA). To confirm as with the request for review I will respond to you
by 4^th October 2019.

 

If you have any queries with regards to the case being reviewed please
contact me quoting case number FoI/19/01907, alternatively if you wish to
discuss the new request please quote reference FoI/19/00004075.

 

Best Wishes

Paul Wood

Policy Manager, International, EU and UK Relations

Scotland House London

 

 

Paul Wood |Policy Manager |International, EU & UK Relations Team |Scotland
House - 5^th Floor  |58 Victoria Embankment |London |EC4Y 0DS

@[1]ScotGovLondon

[2][IMG]

 

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Scottish Government

4 Attachments

Please find attached a response to your recent Freedom of Information
request - Reference 2019/00004075
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Dear Mr Reid,

Please find enclosed a response to your recent request for a Review of the
response to Foi/19/01907
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Dear Scottish Government,

Thank you for your response. I shall of course be referring the case to the Information Commissioner. Before I do so could you perhaps clarify what Scotland's ability to meet the Copenhagen criteria has to do with Brexit negotiations between Holyrood and the UK Government, given this is the reason you have given for applying the exemption. This would, to me, only seem relevant in negotiations after a vote to separate Scotland from the UK.

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid

In our response to your FOI request (FoI 19/01907) we stated that “an exemption under section s29(1)(a) formulation or development of Scottish Government policy, of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested as it relates to Scottish Government policy on the ongoing UK negotiations surrounding Brexit.” This reference to Brexit provides the context; any analysis the Scottish Government has carried out on EU membership is within a range of policy options and depends on the ultimate outcome of Brexit. The application of section s29(1)(a) (formulation or development of Scottish Government policy) was appropriate as this is a live policy issue on which Ministers need to be able to receive free and frank advice on a range of options they may wish to consider.

Regards
Paul

Paul Wood |Policy Manager |International, EU & UK Relations Team |Scotland House - 5th Floor |58 Victoria Embankment |London |EC4Y 0DS

show quoted sections

Dear Scottish Government,

Thank you for your response. Just to be clear, you are claiming that the Scottish Government currently does not have a policy on EU membership? And that you have applied this exemption because this policy will depend on the result of Brexit?

And you are claiming this after directing me to the Scottish Government’s own “Scotland’s Future” paper, which, to quote your own response “discusses an Independent Scotland’s membership within the European Union”.

You are claiming this after the publication of “Protecting Scotland's Future: the Government's Programme for Scotland 2019-2020” on 3 September 2019 which states “The Scottish Government believes the best future for Scotland is to become an independent member of the EU”.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/protec...

You are claiming this whilst we have a First Minister making comments such as, “Scotland must have the choice of becoming an independent, European nation”, “EU membership means we can all work together to raise standards and tackle climate change”, “EU membership also means people in Scotland have the opportunity to live and study freely in Europe; just as our fellow EU citizens are free to come to Scotland to make a contribution here,” “Membership of the EU also boosts jobs,” and “It is not just the economic benefits of EU membership that are important, although they are very substantial.”

Indeed, just this morning we were told “I think it's time Scotland chose our own future so that we can determine whether we want to stay in a position of having a future imposed upon us by Westminster decisions we don't agree with, or whether were going to become an independent country and able to take those decisions ourselves."

I continue to find it unbelievable that the very government making these claims is willfully hiding the information it is basing these on behind a smokescreen of “policy”.

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid,

Thank you for your correspondence.

As referenced in my previous correspondence, if you are unhappy with the outcome of this review you have the right to appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner about our decision within 6 months of receiving my previous letter (dated 1 October 2019). Information on how to make an appeal, along with an application form, is available on the Commissioner’s website at: http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR.... You can also contact the Commissioner at:

The Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS

E-mail: [email address]
Telephone: 01334 464610

Best Regards
Paul Wood

show quoted sections

Dear Scottish Government,

I am fully aware of the next stage of referral, as I have had to use it previously when trying to obtain information from you. I only wish you to make clear your reason for refusal before I take this step, as it seems to contradict the available evidence, in order that I can fully explain my unhappiness at your decision.

I therefore ask again for you to clarify if you are claiming that the Scottish Government currently does not have a policy on EU membership and that you have applied this exemption because this policy will depend on the result of Brexit?

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid,

As stated in my previous response, "This reference to Brexit provides the context; any analysis the Scottish Government has carried out on EU membership is within a range of policy options and depends on the ultimate outcome of Brexit."

The Scottish Government does currently have a publically available position on EU Membership as set out here https://www.gov.scot/policies/europe/

Thank you
Paul

Paul Wood |Policy Manager |International, EU & UK Relations Team |Scotland House London

show quoted sections

Scottish Government

6 Attachments

Dear Mr Reid

 

On behalf of my colleague, please find attached the response to the above
FOI request, including associated documents.

 

Kind regards

 

Andrew

 

Andrew McDivitt

 

International Capability and Soft Power | International Futures |
Directorate for External Affairs

 

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh

 

[1]SG_logo_email_signature

 

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    Scotland s possible EU accession post independence Reactions 24 April 2019 UNREDACTED.xlsx

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Dear Mr Reid

 

Following your application to the Scottish Information Commissioner in
relation to your request reference FOI/19/01907, for information relating
to correspondence or analysis the Scottish Government has carried out on
Scotland’s eligibility for EU membership, we have given some further
consideration to the information held and have determined that the
document titled “Scotland’s possible EU accession post-independence -
Reactions – 14 April 2019”, can now be released in its entirety. A copy of
this document is now attached.

 

Please note however, that there are some discrepancies with the
information under the “UK politicians and parties” tab within this
document, as follows:

 

o Row 7 (comments from MSP Patrick Harvie) – the “Stance” at column E
should read “Supportive” not “Against”
o Row 11 (comments from MSP Donald Cameron – the “Stance” at column E
should read “Against” not “Supportive”
o Row 13 (comments from Scottish Conservatives – the “Stance” at
column E should read “Against” not “Supportive”.

 

You may also wish to note that the information withheld within the “Routes
– draft – REDACTED” and “Routes – technical summary – April 2018”
documents remain exempt under sections 29(1)(a) and 30(b)(ii) of FOISA,
for the reasons given in our review response dated 20 March 2020.

 

Your appeal is still under consideration by the Scottish Information
Commissioner, and you will receive a response from them in due course.

 

Kind regards

 

Andrew McDivitt

 

International Capability and Soft Power | International Futures |
Directorate for External Affairs

 

2H South | Victoria Quay | Edinburgh

 

[1]SG_logo_email_signature

 

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Dear Mr Reid,

 

Please find attached a further response to your FOI request for
information, reference FOI/19/01907.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Louise Cunningham

 

International Futures | Directorate for External Affairs | Scottish
Government

 

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Dear Scottish Government,

I would say "thank you for you response", but given the content of it this would be entirely disingenuous. It has taken you eighteen months, an internal review and two separate referrals to the Information Commissioner for you to decide my request exceeds the cost limit, despite my previous clarification on the information I was seeking and having
already responding to this point early in our correspondence.

Having worked in FOI for a number of years I have to say this is by far the worst handling of a case I have ever come across and I am sure that this will be reflected in the Commissioner's report on the matter. Indeed I am convinced there has been a concerted effort on your behalf to ensure this information never sees the light of day.

Whilst I decide what steps to take next, let's narrow the scope to something well within the limit for the time being. I would like to see an unredacted copy of the "routes" document you have previously issued to me. I also want to see all the internal communication that has taken place in relation to my request.

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

Our Reference: 202100195000
Your Reference: FOI/19/01907

Dear Richie Reid,

Thank you for your correspondence sent on 16/04/2021. Your query will be
passed to the relevant area for consideration and has been given a
reference number of 202100195000. Please quote this number in all
correspondence. The Scottish Government aim to respond, where necessary,
as quickly as possible and within the stated timescale as indicated on our
website
(http://www.gov.scot/about/contact-inform...).

Yours sincerely
MiCase
Correspondence system for SG and partner agencies

The Scottish Government takes your privacy seriously. You may have written
to us because you have a question or want to make a complaint. Our privacy
notice
(https://beta.gov.scot/publications/conta...),
available on our website, sets out how we use your personal data, and your
rights when communicating with us. It is made under Article 13 of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
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Dear Scottish Government,

Could you please confirm you have received and are processing my response

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

1 Attachment

Please find attached a response to your correspondence.
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Please find attached a response to your correspondence.
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Dear Scottish Government,

Thank you for your response.

With regards to my request for an "unredacted" version of the "routes" document, you could obviously have just have directed me to your previous response, given you have decided not to issue me with an "unredacted" copy. Your application of the exemptions and the public interest test are what I will be raising with the Information Commissioner in relation to this document.

In regards to my request for internal communications, you have assumed incorrectly. I do not wish copies of the documents you have used to apply the cost exemption, many months later, I want to see how you have dealt with my request, in other words you have stated, "Officials were asked to search for and retrieve all internal correspondence relating to your previous request." I would like to see how these requests where submitted and their responses. I would also like to see any SPAD involvement or comments surrounding how to treat my request, including any suggestions of what should or should not be included.

Yours faithfully,

Richie Reid

Scottish Government

Our Reference: 202100203619

Dear Richie Reid ,

Thank you for your correspondence sent on 18/05/2021. Your query will be
passed to the relevant area for consideration and has been given a
reference number of 202100203619. Please quote this number in all
correspondence. The Scottish Government aim to respond, where necessary,
as quickly as possible and within the stated timescale as indicated on our
website
(http://www.gov.scot/about/contact-inform...).

Yours sincerely
MiCase
Correspondence system for SG and partner agencies

The Scottish Government takes your privacy seriously. You may have written
to us because you have a question or want to make a complaint. Our privacy
notice
(https://beta.gov.scot/publications/conta...),
available on our website, sets out how we use your personal data, and your
rights when communicating with us. It is made under Article 13 of the
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
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Scottish Government

Dear Mr Reid,

 

Thank you for your request dated 18 May 2021 under the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) concerning information on the
‘routes’ document [to re-joining the EU]. We received your request on 19
May 2021 and will respond in accordance with FOISA by end 16 June 2021.

 

I have been asked by Martin Johnson, Director for EU Directorate, to carry
out your review request as I was not involved in handling your original
request. I will be looking at the case afresh to establish whether the
original response should be confirmed, with or without modifications as
appropriate, or a new decision should be substituted.

 

If you have any queries, please contact me quoting case number
202100203619.

 

Thanks Sandip

 

Sandip Mahajan | Japan Policy Officer | International Relations Team |
Directorate for External Affairs | Scottish Government | 2H South,
Victoria Quay, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ | [1][email address] |
07584 449100

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