AN independent Scotland is likely to be fast-tracked and able to join the EU “relatively quickly”, according to a European expert.

Professor James Ker-Lindsay said there are “stark” differences between the position of Scotland and countries such as Albania and Serbia which are seeking membership.

Writing in a blog for the Scottish Centre for European Relations, the visiting professor at the European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science, argued that Scotland would almost certainly be moved to the “fast-track line”.

Although it would still be subject to the same checks as other countries, he said it would be expected to “overtake the other countries in short order and join the EU relatively quickly”.

In 2014, then president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso claimed trying to get back into the EU would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland.

But there are signs attitudes have changed following Brexit, with former European Council president Donald Tusk commenting earlier this month there would be “sympathy” for an independent Scotland securing full membership.

Ker-Lindsay, who specialises in issues relating to EU enlargement, said Scotland’s possible membership of the EU “inevitably looms large” in any discussions about the possibility of indyref2.

He said there were questions over whether Scotland would have to go to the back of the queue and if it would be treated differently from countries that are already in line to join, such as those from the Western Balkans.

But he said: “In terms of the political framework, there is no doubt that Scotland stands apart from the countries currently in the queue. In every way, the historical, political, economic and even social contexts are completely different.”

He also argued the economic profile of those countries was very different, with“no comparison” to Scotland’s situation.

Ker-Lindsay said: “No policy-maker would put Scotland in the same basket as the Western Balkans. Inevitably, all this means that EU members will almost certainly treat Scotland very differently when it comes to making the political decisions about whether or not to open accession talks.

“However, while the political framework could not be more different, one would imagine that the formal negotiating process will have to remain essentially the same. The commission would assess the situation in terms of each chapter and report back on whether convergence exists. It would then be for members to make their decisions.

“That said, one cannot overlook the specific circumstances that would arise in the case of Scotland.

“Assuming the degree of divergence that has taken place after the end of transition process is not that great – and this is one of the great unknows of the Brexit process – one would expect this to be a relatively straightforward and swift process.”

Ker-Lindsay said any claim Scotland would have to go to the back of the queue may be “theoretically correct”, but was “only as a statement of fact”.

He said: “It would almost certainly be moved to the fast track line.”