AN independent Scotland should set a target of four years to get the country back into the European Union, according to a major report being published today.

The blueprint sets out what it believes would be the quickest and most effective route for the new state regaining the status it lost last month as a result of the UK’s Brexit vote and how Scotland would benefit from membership.

Drawn up by Brussels expert Anthony Salamone, the 125-page document entitled The EU Blueprint: Pathway for Scotland’s Accession to the European Union under Independence argues Scotland would meet the required “Copenhagen criteria” needed to apply to join the bloc.

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Referring to the new Scottish state as a Republic, it states: “Scotland was previously part of the European Union for nearly five decades. On that basis alone, the Scottish economy is manifestly capable of forming part of the Union economy and responding sufficiently to its associated demands and forces. The Republic will therefore be in an extremely strong position to satisfy the economic criteria of the Copenhagen criteria.”

It also states an independent Scottish Government should set out any demands it has ahead of accession talks, suggesting it should ask for a political declaration on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Such a move could allow Scottish ministers to get a better deal on fishing than the one secured by the UK Government which has helped to drive Euroscepticism in some coastal areas of north east Scotland.

It states: “Scotland will however be in a much stronger position to shape the CFP and fisheries decisions, compared to its previous participation while part of the UK.”

Salamone also recommends Scotland should hold an EU referendum to approve the deal it reaches with the EU rather than a referendum before the county applies for membership.

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He cautions against applying to join the European Free Trade Association and instead advises negotiating an Association Agreement with the EU during the transition to independence.

His report adds: “ EFTA and EEA accessions are a time-consuming process which would create burdens for the EU and EFTA states. Moreover, it would suggest a lack of commitment to the Union.”

The document does not avoid potentially difficult questions for the Yes side, stating there may need to be border infrastructure between Scotland and England. However, it points out this development would “be manageable”.

“As a European small state, it is overwhelmingly in Scotland’s political, economic and geostrategic interests to be part of the European Union. While it is regrettable that

the rUK will be outside the EU, that development cannot govern Scotland’s future,” Salamone’s report states.

“Just as Ireland did not leave the European Union because the UK left it, so Scotland should not refrain from joining the EU because rUK is not a member. “

It adds: “Depending on the shape of the EU-UK partnership, the contrast between Scotland inside the EU and rUK outside the EU will probably require border infrastructure and checks to preserve the integrity of the EU internal market and customs union. Although such eventuality will be unfortunate, it will also be entirely manageable. Across the world, many neighbouring states with close economic relations operate secure and efficient borders. Moreover, it will be a product of the UK’s regressive decision to isolate itself from the rest of Europe, not Scotland’s choice to be part of our common European future in the EU.”

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Salamone, who runs the political analysis firm European Merchants, suggests an independent Scotland would be eligible to be represented by 14 MEPs in the European Parliament - the same number as Denmark, Finland and Slovakia, which have similarly sized populations - and more than double the number of six Scotland was allocated by the UK. This, the document says, would provide the country with greater opportunities for influencing EU decisions.