A SENIOR Brussels source has said Jean-Claude Juncker will remain “open” to proposals put down by Nicola Sturgeon to keep Scotland in the single market a day after Spain rejected the proposals.

Yesterday Spain’s secretary of state for the European Union, Jorge Toledo, remained the only European spokesman to rule out a separate Scottish deal.

Juncker, the European Commission President, met former First Minister Alex Salmond in the Belgium capital last week. At the time he said Scotland had earned the right to be listened to.

On Tuesday Nicola Sturgeon published the Scottish Government’s blueprint on options to keep the country inside the tariff-free trade zone.

Last night Juncker’s deputy spokesperson Mina Andreeva said the president noted the proposals and despite the Spanish opposition he reiterated that he would listen to Sturgeon, who he met days after the June vote.

“President Juncker is aware of the paper and we take note of it,”said Andreeva. “If you take note of something, obviously you know that it’s out there. I can’t say he has read every single line on every single page.”

She added: “I don’t have any further comment as for now Scotland is part of the European Union and we will not speculate about anything else at this stage... [the President] listens to many leaders from the European Union.”

One senior Brussels insider – who spoke to The National on condition of anonymity – said there was no surprise Spain had rejected Scotland’s options paper, and described Toledo’s remarks as “realpolitik”.

“There is sympathy across Europe for the Scottish situation and there is general goodwill towards Scotland from people at various levels,” the insider added.

“Juncker is open to the proposals from Nicola Sturgeon before the formal negotiations proceed.”

On Wednesday Toledo adopted a hardline stance towards the First Minister’s paper.

He said: “If the UK leaves the single market, the whole UK will leave the single market. There is only one negotiator, the UK Government.”

The First Minister’s proposals set out options for the whole of the UK to stay in the single market, and for Scotland to remain in it should the rest of the UK opt for a so-called “hard Brexit” out of it.

She said she hoped the UK Government would back a separate Scottish deal and that it would find support within Europe.

The terms of the UK’s Brexit deal must be agreed by each of the remaining 27 members.

Spain has long been regarded as unlikely to back any separate Scottish arrangement as it is opposed to any deals that it considers would further the cause of Catalan independence.

But Sturgeon’s plan has been welcomed by Oriol Junqueras, the deputy prime minister of the regional Catalan government and has also been supported by Carl Bildt, the former prime minister of Sweden.

Bildt said: “Scotland makes clear it is determined to stay in the EU single market – it makes eminent economic sense.”

A spokesman for Michael Russell, Scotland’s Brexit Minister, said: “The Scottish Government’s proposals are designed to protect Scotland from a hard Tory Brexit, which would be economically disastrous.

“We have been absolutely up-front that implementing these proposals would not be straightforward but, as a range of experts have said, with the right political will it is possible. We have always said that it is for the UK Government to negotiate Brexit with the EU, and that the UK Government needs to live up to its commitments to treat Scotland as an equal partner.”

The First Minister unveiled the blueprint which set out a plan that if it could not convince the UK to remain in the single market as a whole, would allow Scotland to stay. The plan entailed the Scottish Parliament getting more control over issues such as immigration, business regulation and international trade negotiations.

The 50-page document said this would allow Scotland to continue to mirror the business regime in the EU single market after Brexit.

She has given May a deadline to respond to the paper by the time the Prime Minister triggers Article 50, beginning a two-year process of formal negotiations to leave the bloc.

Sturgeon has said if May rejects the proposals she will proceed with plans for a new independence referendum.

May has yet to formally respond to the paper, but speaking to the Commons Liaison Committee on Tuesday she played down Sturgeon’s suggestions.

She told the SNP’s Pete Wishart: “What we will be negotiating is a United Kingdom approach and a United Kingdom relationship with the European Union.

“I think you’ve assumed an acceptance of differential relationships which I don’t think it’s right to accept. I said when I became Prime Minister and first met the First Minister that we will look very seriously at any proposals that come forward from the devolved administrations, but there may be proposals that are impractical.”