A cross-party group of 50 senior European politicians have pledged their "full support" for an independent Scotland's EU membership and pledged to make the process "swift, smooth and as orderly as possible".
In a letter to the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer Ken MacIntosh, the MEPs and parliamentarians from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Greece and Malta, say "Scotland would be most welcome as a full member of the European Union" if Scotland votes for independence.
The European politicians criticise the UK government for pursuing a hard Brexit, and for refusing to "properly take into account the preferences of Scottish citizens in the withdrawal process", recognising that "Scotland voted strongly to remain in the EU" and that now "the question of Scotland's constitutional future, and your relationships with the UK and EU, are for the people of Scotland to decide."
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson said:
“This is yet another significant intervention which underlines the depth of good will towards Scotland across Europe.
“As this letter shows, there is a lot of sympathy among our European friends and neighbours for Scotland’s position. Scotland voted to remain in the EU, yet we are being dragged out of the world’s largest single market by a Tory government which we did not vote for.
“In a week in which the idea of Spain vetoing an independent Scotland’s EU membership was finally put to bed and the man who wrote Article 50 said that Scotland would see ‘a very swift accession,' the claims made by the No campaign in 2014 are being steadily demolished.
“Politicians across Europe want to engage constructively with Scotland and if we choose to be independent, they will respect the will of the Scottish people.”