There is “no reason” an independent Scotland would not be accepted into the European Union, a key European Commission representative has said.
Jacqueline Minor, head of representation for the European Commission in the UK, said the country would be “starting from a point different from other applicant countries” due to its current EU membership.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme Ms Minor was asked whether an independent Scotland would enter the EU.
She said: “I think, had Scotland achieved independence, there would be no reason why it would not be accepted into the normal accession process.”
Ms Minor was then asked if Scotland would be prioritised in the accession process to the EU.
She added: “I think, obviously, there are some things that would facilitate that process, namely that Scotland would at a previous point have been aligned with the European acquis.
“So it would have a familiarity with European processes, it would probably still have on its statute books a fair amount of European rules, which would mean it was starting from a point different from other applicant countries, who normally have to go through the entire process of aligning their rules with European rules.”
SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said: “This is an important intervention, which makes clear that, as an existing member of the EU, Scotland would be in a completely different situation from other countries seeking membership.
“There is no ‘queue’ to join the EU. There is a process, and a country must be in line with the requirements of membership - which Scotland, as a full part of the EU up until this point, already is.
“Theresa May’s determination to pursue a Tory hard Brexit is the only risk to Scotland’s relationship with Europe, which is crucial for jobs, household incomes and our economy.”