NICOLA Sturgeon is on course to hold talks with Jean-Claude Juncker after his spokesman indicated the European President is willing to meet her.

Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesman for Juncker, said the Brussels leader “had an open door” policy regarding the First Minister in his first briefing to journalists following last Thursday’s referendum.

He said: “President Juncker has a very open door, he has a busy agenda and he meets many people from all walks of life and I expect at some point in time a meeting will also be set with representatives from Scotland. President Juncker has already met with First Minister Sturgeon back in June.”

However, during the same press conference, Schinas adopted a hostile tone towards the Westminster Government and said no preliminary discussions would be held until the formal process of Brexit begins and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered.

“We are now expecting a swift notification of Article 50 proceedings. There will be no negotiations without Article 50 notification,” he said.

The First Minister has said she will explore all options for keeping

Scotland in the EU as the country faces being taken out against its will after it voted by 62 per cent to remain, while the UK voted to leave.

Yesterday Scottish Government Farming Minister Fergus Ewing revealed he had informal talks with his EU counterparts in the Belgium capital and had received a “sympathetic hearing” from them over Scotland’s bid to remain in the EU. He said senior European officials told him that they would like to see Scotland as the EU’s 28th member state.

Today the First Minister will seek a mandate from the Scottish Parliament to strengthen her hand in talks with European Union (EU) institutions to protect Scotland’s place in the EU.

In an emergency debate at Holyrood Sturgeon will call on MSPs to support her talks “for protecting Scotland’s relationship with the EU, Scotland’s place in the single market”.

Commenting ahead of the debate, the First Minister said: “I have already made it clear that I regard it as democratically unacceptable for Scotland to face the prospect of being taken out of the European Union against the wishes of the people of Scotland, as expressed overwhelmingly in last week’s referendum.

“I am now determined to explore every avenue to retain Scotland’s EU status and today’s parliamentary debate is a vital part of that process. I am specifically asking Parliament to strengthen my hand by giving me a mandate to pursue discussions about protecting Scotland’s place in the EU with the UK Government, other devolved administrations, EU institutions and member states.

“It is now crucial that our national Parliament speaks with as strong and united a voice as possible on this issue.

“Today’s debate is among the most important in Holyrood’s history – and I want to see it result in broad cross-party support for our efforts.”

After the First Minister indicated yesterday she would consider asking MSPs to block legislation paving the way for Brexit, the Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokeswoman said there was no requirement for the Scottish Parliament to approve EU withdrawal as foreign policy was reserved for Westminster.

But she pointed out Cameron had said on Friday the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish administrations should be “fully involved” in preparations for the negotiation.

At Westminster yesterday, the SNP’s Angus Robertson told the House of Commons his party has “no intention of seeing Scotland being taken out of Europe” and criticised the Prime Minister for his lack of action following the result.