THE Union as we have known it is over, a group of representatives from international media outlets have been told.

At a conference organised by the Foreign Press Association, journalists from nations including Australia, Germany, and Finland tuned in to learn more about the EU for Scotland letter campaign.

The open letter calling on the EU to outline a path for an independent Scotland to rejoin the bloc before any referendum is held was signed by more than 170 leading cultural and academic figures from every EU and UK nation ahead of its publication on April 29.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon heaps praise on Europe for Scotland letter - here's how to sign it

It has since been signed by thousands more people, with campaigners hoping to reach 10,000 signatures before the Scottish elections on May 6.

Andrea Pisauro, who helped found the campaign along with Nina Jetter (both shown below), said that the letter had been published in 10 European newspapers and that, should a pro-independence majority be returned by the Scottish electorate, further interventions across Europe were in the works.

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Speaking at the conference, Pisauro and Jetter, along with fellow panelists and signatories Professor David Edgerton, openDemocracy co-founder Anthony Barnett, and crime fiction giant Val McDermid, answered questions from the world media on the topic of Scottish independence.

The panel faced questions on topics including the Tory government’s new policy of maximising the use of the Union flag, the impact of Holyrood’s election on Catalonia, and the Scottish independence movement’s relationship to Brexit.

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On the matter of flags, Edgerton, an acclaimed author and professor of modern British history at King’s College London, said the UK’s symbol had “become more prominent than it has ever been”.

Edgerton said that, historically, the British ruling classes viewed an over-reliance on flags as something for the less developed and less civilised nations of the world.

He added: “It is a symbol of the collapse of Britain as a great nation that it feels the need to fly the flag.”

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Edgerton (above) later said that while the UK is not a failed state, “it is failing”.

McDermid said the flag was not appreciated by many Scots who felt it had “colonial” tones.

Barnett, who worked as openDemocracy’s editor-in-chief after it was founded, pointed to an article written by a “Brexiteer” in which the Union flag had been termed a “national symbol”.

The writer said that it was not national, representing by its very nature a union of nations, but that attempts to paint it as such were part of a deliberate recasting of history by English nationalist interests.

READ MORE: EU leaders urged to say independent Scotland will be welcomed back

Barnett said the heavy use of the Union flag was a “deliberate attempt to impose the British state on the smaller nations, as well as England, in a much more unified way”.

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He added: “The Union as we have known it is over. There are only two easy routes that the Union can now go. Either it becomes a highly centralised, absolutist state, or we see the break up, hopefully with Scotland leading the way.”

Other topics of interest for the international media included the central call in the open letter, namely for the EU to become involved in the independence debate by saying there will be a clear route for a Scotland outside of the UK to rejoin the European bloc.

McDermid (below) told the conference that the EU’s strict criteria for joining was “being used as a stick to beat the SNP with” in the Scottish elections, with Unionist parties saying there is little hope of Scotland being allowed to rejoin.

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She said that the EU “shouldn’t allow itself to be dictated to by a single outsider”, namely London.

The crime writer was echoed by Pisauro, who said that the EU should not be silent in the face of the “many lies” touted by Boris Johnson’s Brexiteers, as it had been during the 2016 referendum.

Barnett said EU leaders should not “feel intimidated by this bullying regime which we have in London” and called on the bloc to “change the narrative”.

He warned that the “Brexit project is ongoing, it’s just beginning” before calling on the EU to make it clear that Scotland has a choice between two unions, one which is “imposing itself on you”, and one which is trying to “bring you back to the European family of nations”.

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Barnett added: “Brexit is the provocation, the EU needs to change the narrative.

“Rather than be intimidated you should say that a country taken out against its will would be allowed back in. The EU must not be bullied into not showing the solidarity it should be showing.”

Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU in 2016, with every Scottish region returning a majority for remain.

Asked about any similarities between Brexit and Scottish independence, termed Scexit in some circles, the panel were scathing in their response.

Barnett said that the two movements were actually diametrically opposed to one another.

He told the international media: “Brexit with Boris Johnson at the helm is an expression of Trumpism. ‘Britain First’ as opposed to ‘America First’.

“What Scottish independence is about is not about leaving the world but about rejoining our continent. It is actually quite the opposite.”

He said the Yes movement is “a healthy and normal” reaction to Brexit’s politics, adding that it is “absolutely not a repetition of Brexit or an intensification of it, it is the first step in reversing it and, if you like, national health across the UK”.

Lesley Riddoch, who helped behind the scenes to get the letter off the ground and who attended the conference but did not sit on the panel, later told The National that the inclusion of pro-independence celebrities such as Val McDermid, who was introduced to the conference as the “titan of tartan noir”, had been crucial in attracting international attention.

The National: Lesley Riddoch said tomorrow night’s Holyrood event will look at the pros and cons of Norway’s use of the EEA ‘halfway house’ to access the single market

Riddoch (above) said: "It was quite moving to see such an erudite and committed team of European and English citizens argue Scotland's case with logic and force to international journalists who also take Scotland's democratic deficit seriously. If that hour of question and answer was broadcast as a TV programme it would produce more insight into the current state of Brexited Britain and the possibilities for Scotland than a series of leaders debates.

“Our own Val McDermid was superb - obviously she was the big attraction for foreign journalists and Scotland's lucky to have indy-supporting celebs prepared to expose themselves to tough questions for the sake of a better future."

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: The neighbours who are coming to Scotland’s rescue in the EU

She went on to urge Scots to sign the letter and help the campaign achieve its target of 10,000 signatures by polling day.

Riddoch said: “I really hope Yessers understand the strategic importance of getting the EU to think carefully about Scotland’s situation and sign the letter to Brussels.

“It's great to have this genuinely European-led initiative, led by a 'incredibly impressive list of people’ as Nicola Sturgeon described the initial signatories. But we Scots can't leave neighbours to do all the heavy lifting on this vital issue.

“So, please sign up - in Scots, Gaelic, English or 16 other European languages via”