NICOLA Sturgeon fired the starting gun on a second independence referendum in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, raising much gnashing of teeth from the usual quarters - but how did Europe react to the news?

Stephen Mcilkenny from The Herald has collated and translated reactions from across the continent.

France 24 reported: "Around six in ten Scots voted to stay in the European Union, and Sturgeon hopes that some of those who voted to stay in the United Kingdom might change their vote in another referendum in order to maintain membership of the EU.

"But the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, which has been put back to October 31 as MPs try and reach agreement over the divorce deal, has also hampered plans for another independence referendum.

"While polls show some pro-EU voters have swung behind the independence cause, a similar amount of pro-Brexit supporters have moved in the other direction, and overall support remains close to 2014 levels.

"Sturgeon hopes that dissatisfaction with London's handling of Brexit could tip the balance."

French newspaper Le Monde wrote in an analysis piece: "To convince Scots to reject independence in 2014, one of the arguments put forward was the risk of separating, as part of the United Kingdom, from the European Union. A few years later, with Brexit, membership in the United Kingdom paradoxically forced Scotland to leave the EU."

French publication L'Echo also highlighted Brexit as a reason for the call for independence saying: "Like Northern Ireland, the Scots voted against the Brexit in the British referendum on 23 June 2016. England and Wales voted for Brexit in the majority."

German publication Der Tagesspiegel wrote: "Despite the British Government's refusal to repeat the referendum on independence, Sturgeon was convinced on Wednesday that the project was likely to succeed. If the demand for independence continues to gain ground, then "no government in the United Kingdom can break the will of the people," she said."

It also added analysis saying that "the First Minister's referendum demands are not necessarily based on the will of the Scottish majority. According to polls, a scant majority of Scots remain against independence." adding that a majority of Sots envisage a referendum in the next decade.

Spanish newspaper El Pais branded the announcement by the First Minister as "a calculated move" in relation to the upcoming SNP conference. The Spanish paper reported: "Brexit, as in so many other things, is the ultimate cause of awakening a new monster in the United Kingdom. Although not, in this case. This is not something spontaneous, but a calculated and partisan movement. Nicola Sturgeon unveiled on Wednesday her plans to push another referendum on independence in 2021. She did it three days before the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) conference, to appease the nerves of the organisation."

Catalan publication El Nacional reacted favourably to the announcement reporting on a tweet from Carles Puigdemont: "The president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, has applauded the decision of the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, to hold a second referendum on independence before the end of spring"

De Telegraaf from the Netherlands reported on the creation of The Voices for Scotland initiative which it said "hopes to get support from 50 to 60 percent of the Scots for separation. The launch comes one day after Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, has said that the country will prepare for a second referendum on independence before May 2021."

The Irish Times reported Nicola Sturgeon's announcement in the same story as their piece on Tory MPs asking for Theresa May to set out resignation timetable reporting: "Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would introduce legislation allowing for a second referendum on Scottish independence by 2021 if Brexit goes ahead. But she declined to set a date for a referendum and said she would establish citizens’ assemblies to consider Scotland’s constitutional future."