A Foreign Office memo is understood to have outlined the possibility that the UK government could prevent Scotland gaining EU membership, following a split with the UK.
The news came as Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson made a fresh call on the SNP leader to publish evidence over his claim that an independent Scotland would automatically be accepted as an EU member.
Ms Davidson said: “If Alex Salmond is so sure of his position, then why does he not produce the hard evidence that backs up his assertion that a separate Scotland would gain automatic succession to the EU.”
However, a spokesman for the First Minister dismissed the claims as “tired old scare stories”. He said: “Scotland is part of the territory of the European Union and the people of Scotland are citizens of the EU – there is no provision for either of these circumstances to change upon independence.”