THE co-chair of the European Green Party has suggested an independent Scotland could take over the UK’s membership of the European Union as England, Wales and Northern Ireland leave the bloc.

Monica Frassoni said when East and West Germany unified in 1990, Germany became an expanded state in the EU without having to negotiate special new terms for the eastern part of the country to enter.

She said in terms of an independent Scotland, rather than the member state expanding, it could be regarded as the UK membership’s contracting. “This is a completely new situation, someone leaving, but could it mean Scotland being a successor of the UK?” she said at a press conference in Glasgow yesterday after being asked whether an independent Scotland could remain a EU member.

“It is a little bit like what happened with East Germany, but in the opposite direction. In the German case the expanded Germany was taken in without any special decisions, it was simply an enlargement of Germany [in the Scottish case] this would instead be a shrinking of the UK.”

Frassoni was speaking at the start of the three-day European Green Party Council meeting, being held at Strathclyde University and which brings together representatives from 46 Green parties.

It is the largest meeting of European politicians to take place in the UK following the EU referendum result in which Scotland voted 62 per cent to Remain while the UK as a whole voted narrowly to Leave.

Frassoni, a former Italian Green Party MEP, added that while politicians in Europe are waiting for more details of what Brexit could involve, she said that “certainly there is much more sympathy for Scotland and its position” than for the rest of the UK. “The attitude of the Scottish Government and the Scottish public is seen with much more openness and sympathy,” she said.

Also at the opening press conference Maggie Chapman, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said her party will not stand by as Scotland is “dragged” out of the European Union, and renewed support for any bid by Nicola Sturgeon to hold a new independence referendum.

The First Minister has said a new plebiscite on sovereignty remains on the table if independence is the best way of protecting Scotland’s interests and her government is consulting on a draft referendum bill.

“We will support moves by the Scottish Government to prepare legislation for another independence referendum, if this proves necessary,” said Chapman.

“However we are still willing to consider, along with others in the UK and beyond, whether other options short of independence exist that respect the mandate for Scotland to remain in the European Union.”

Chapman, who leads the Scottish Greens jointly with Patrick Harvie, added: “We voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU yet we face being dragged out against our will by an uncaring Conservative Government that we did not elect.”

Frassoni declined to say if she backed Scottish independence, saying it was “something that has to be decided within the UK.”

The former MEP added that the aftermath of the EU referendum was not only an issue for the UK, but also a question for the rest of the European Union.