THE SPANISH Foreign minister Josep Borrell says that the government in Madrid would not stand in the way of independent Scotland joining the EU.

Speaking to Politico, the politician also said he thought the UK would break up long before Spain ever did.

“If they leave Britain within the accordance of the internal regulations," he said. "If Westminster agrees, we are not going to be more Papist than the pope. If Westminster agrees why would we be against it?”

He added: “I am very much worried about the unity of the United Kingdom than the unity of Spain. I think the United Kingdom will split apart before Spain. That is a clear sign of the United Kingdom’s weakness.”

The politician also revealed that Theresa May will be in Brussels tomorrow to meet with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

With the withdrawal agreement backed by the EU and Downing Street, the talks in Brussels have moved on to the political declaration, which outlines the future relationship. 

Borrell warned that Spain could withhold support unless there was an explicit statement that Madrid would approve any future trade deal with the UK covering Gibraltar.

He said: “Mrs May said that she will not agree with the withdrawal treaty ... without knowing the content of the political declaration about the future relationship.

“She has said she will not agree with one thing unless I know and agree with the other. Me too. I want to see both things. Maybe tomorrow. Mrs May is coming here.”

Borrell said that the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, was “trying to write a paper that fits everything together and makes [everybody] happy”.

He added: “We have always been working with one idea, an idea approved several times by the European council. On the future relations, it will not include Gibraltar. Gibraltar is something apart ... Spain has to agree … we want it to be clear one way or another.

“I don’t mind about the instrument but I want it to be clear the future will be negotiated about Gibraltar with the agreement of Spain.”

In the run up to the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, Spain made clear it would resist an independent Scotland's application to join the EU for fear of fuelling the Catalonian sepratist movement.

However, last year, Borrell’s predecessor as foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis softened Spain’s position.

“We don’t want it [Scottish independence] to happen,” he said in 2017. “But if it happens legally and constitutionally, we would not block it. We don’t encourage the breakup of any member states, because we think the future goes in a different direction.”

The SNP MSP George Adam welcomed the comments from Borrell.

“This intervention confirms what people in Scotland already know – and demolishes a favoured Unionist scare-story. 

Independence will allow Scotland to be an equal partner within Europe – instead of being dragged out against our will by the Tories.

“That message of hope is increasingly powerful as the reality of a Tory hard Brexit begins to bite.”