Scottish parliamentarians were told their nation would be “most welcome” in the European Union if it were to vote for independence from the United Kingdom.
The announcement came in an open letter signed by 50 European politicians, including 26 MEPs and members of both national and regional governments in Germany, Greece, Spain, Belgium and Ireland.
“As elected representatives from across the European Union we have been heartened by your support for a Europe which is united in pursuit of progress and not divided by fear and self-interest,” the letter begins.
“Democracy and mutual respect are at the heart of the European project and so, whilst we are saddened by the vote of a small majority for the United Kingdom to leave the EU, we respect this as a democratic decision of UK citizens.
“We recognise that this was not your choice however and that Scotland voted strongly to remain within the EU. The question of Scotland’s constitutional future, and your relationships with the UK and the EU are for the people of Scotland to decide. It is not our place to tell Scotland what path you should take.
“We regret that the UK’s government has chosen to follow the path of a ‘hard Brexit’ and has so far refused to properly take into account the preferences of Scottish citizens in the withdrawal process. Therefore, if Scotland were to become an independent country and decided to seek to maintain European Union membership, we offer our full support to ensure the transition is as swift, smooth, and orderly as possible.
“Scotland would be most welcome as a full member of the European Union, with your five million European citizens continuing to benefit from the rights and protections we all currently enjoy.”
Scotland was the strongest supporter of Remain in the Brexit referendum of last June, with 62 percent of the population voting to stay in the EU.
“People in Scotland were told to vote against independence if they wanted to stay in the EU and now we know how wrong that was. Independence is the only way to secure a European future for Scotland,” said Scottish Greens’ external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer MSP.