The National:

IT'S one of the most commonly trotted out Unionist scare stories – claims that an independent Scotland would not be permitted to join the European Union. It just became even harder for Unionists to pretend that this is really the case.

After the First Minister announced plans to put Scotland in a place where it could hold an independence referendum within the next two years, the question resurfaced in the Telegraph.

The paper's EU correspondent asked: "Would Brussels even allow an independent Scotland to join the EU?"

It's interesting that this question is still being posed. Last year, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, told MPs it was a "simple fact" that an independent Scotland could join the European Union after Brexit.

Verhofstadt was re-affirming previous comments in which he said “if Scotland decides to leave the UK to be an independent state and they decide to be part of the EU I think there is no big obstacle to do that”.

Still, the claim persists ... and one expert on European matters wasn't having any of it.

James Ker-Lindsay is Visiting Professor at the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford.

In other words, he has some credentials.

Responding to the Telegraph article, he wrote: "This is a nonsense story @Telegraph. There is absolutely no question that the #EU would permit an independent #Scotland to join. And it would happen quickly. Any suggestion it would have to get in line behind the Western #Balkans is simply false."

Really, it's not so much the Telegraph story that's nonsense as much as this whole Unionist claim.

This is another expert setting it out in the clearest terms – the EU will accept an independent Scotland.

With Scotland voting to Remain, and the UK dragging us out of the EU in a disastrously negotiated Brexit, it's an important message.

And if the European Union wasn't sure beforehand about doing all it can to accept Scotland, the stark difference in how our government has approached Brexit will have sent a clear message.

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