The Spanish Prime Minister has dealt a blow to Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes of keeping Scotland in the EU.
Mariano Rajoy said no-one in the EU should be negotiating with anyone other than the UK Government about Brexit.
He told a press briefing in Brussels: “I want to be very clear. Scotland does not have the competence to negotiate with the European Union.
“Spain opposes any negotiation by anyone other than the government of United Kingdom.”
Ms Sturgeon has been meeting EU senior officials today including European Parliament president Martin Schulz.
The First Minister is due to meet Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU Commission later.
Every member state in the bloc has a veto to stop a new country, such as an independent Scotland, joining the EU.
Each government can also block the result of any Brexit negotiations, which will formally start when Article 50 is triggered.
Spanish political figures are nervous about the prospect of Scotland being given special treatment by the EU for fear of encouraging Basque and Catalonian separatists.
Mr Rajoy’s centre-right party won the most number of seats but is still short of forming a majority government.
Ms Sturgeon has said there are “no rules, no precedents” for negotiating Scotland’s membership of the EU after Scots backed staying in the bloc.