Scotland could be back in the EU two years after becoming independent, according to Britain’s longest-serving MEP.
David Martin, who has sat in the European Parliament since 1984, said his Brussels colleagues from the continent are “very sympathetic” to his home country rejoining the EU.
The Labour politician said Scotland would not have to sign up to the euro as a condition of membership.
But he warned that it would not get “preferential treatment” and as a member state would have to follow the Common Fisheries Policy, which is despised by Scottish fishermen.
Mr Martin, who was on Nicola Sturgeon’s Standing Council on Europe, said an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the EU and its application would be viewed very differently than in 2014.
“This time around we (Scotland) are being forced out of the EU, which is how it is perceived here,” he told a press briefing in Brussels.
“They know that Scotland voted to Remain and I think they would be very sympathetic if Scotland came back and said ‘Scotland became independent and it wants to join the EU’. It would be welcome.”
Mr Martin said the Scottish Government would get a “bespoke deal on the euro because other countries have”, adding: “It wouldn’t be a problem that you (Scotland) didn’t sign up to the euro”.
On the CFP, he said he gets the argument that Scotland would try and change the controversial policy once it is back in the bloc, but pointed out “some of us have been trying to change that for a long time”.
It would take about 18 months to complete the accession negotiations and a further six to nine months to ratify it, assuming Scotland had not diverged from EU rules significantly while outside the bloc, Mr Martin said.
“You are talking a minimum of two years (to rejoin) but it would probably realistically three,” Mr Martin said.
A complicating factor is how soon after a Yes vote the EU would be prepared to open negotiations with Scots ministers, given the requirement for a time delay between voting for independence and the point of secession.
An SNP spokeswoman said Scotland has been a member of the EU for 45 years so would be “very well prepared” to rejoin.
“Brexit means there is now a much more positive view of an independent Scotland among our European friends and neighbours,” she added.
Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “The EU have made it clear that an independent Scotland would not receive a quick accession.
“By taking the same side as the SNP, Scottish Labour are showing they are totally unwilling and unable to stand up to them.”