THE EU would accept an independent Scotland’s application to join the bloc “within 10 seconds”, according to a top economist.

Yanis Varoufakis, the left-wing professor and former Greek finance minister, argued the European Union would want to “seize the opportunity” to show up the UK by welcoming Scotland in.

Speaking to the New Statesman on the fifth anniversary of the Brexit referendum, the economist, who is highly critical of the EU, touched on the future of the UK and what the SNP need to do to secure Scotland’s independence.

“I wish the Scottish people well,” Varoufakis said. “If I were a Scot I would probably vote in favour of independence because England has gone too far in the direction of Thatcherism.

The National:

“Looking at England from outside, even though I love the country, it’s very difficult to see how the progressives who may be a majority will get their act together in order to arrest this precipitous fall into the lap of a rabid neoliberal way of doing things. Whereas Scotland remains much closer to the post-war settlement of a mixed economy, a welfare state.”

Asked whether the EU would accept Scotland rejoining, the economist replied: “Within 10 seconds.”

He went on: “The European Union elites look at Brexit as a major defeat. They may not say so, but they took it as a major defeat. And therefore they will seize the opportunity to take their revenge on Boris Johnson and the London Tories, the English Tories, by bringing Scotland in. There’s no doubt.”

Though he believes the possibility of Spain vetoing Scotland’s re-entry damaged the 2014 Yes campaign, the situation has changed in the wake of Brexit.

Varoufakis explained: “Spain doesn’t like the idea of Scottish independence but at the same time if there is a fait accompli, if Scotland is independent and applies for membership of the European Union, it may take a few hours for the Chancellor of Germany and the President of France to twist the arm of the Spanish PM, whoever the Spanish PM might be, but it will happen.”

READ MORE: Scottish independence: European public backs indyref2 within a year, poll shows

The SNP plan to continue using the pound after securing independence before switching to a new currency – but this has been questioned by some progressive economists, including Richard Murphy and Varoufakis.

“The great problem with Scottish independence is the SNP is not courageous enough," he told the interviewer. "They are not explaining, they don’t have the proper answer to the question ‘what are you going to do with your currency'.

“I find it preposterous to say we will continue to have the pound even if we become independent. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. You want to have your independence? Proclaim your monetary independence as well. And this is much easier to do in Scotland for instance than for us to do here in Greece.

“Why? Because the Scots have Scottish pounds in their pockets. You have printing presses in Scotland – producing the Scottish pounds. All you need to do is sever the link, the peg, of one Scottish pound to one English pound. But that takes a little bit of courage which I don’t believe that the SNP is showing at the moment.”

READ MORE: Richard Murphy: Why Nicola Sturgeon should change tack on Scotland's deficit

Also in the interview, Varoufakis said he doesn’t believe the UK should rejoin the EU in its current form – but hopes he and other people seeking to reform the bloc can transform it into a more appealing Union.

The interview came as a new poll of 6000 voters in Germany, France, Italy and Spain found support for Scottish independence, and Scotland joining the EU in the future.

Around 75% of them said they'd either support or not oppose indyref2 within the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 81% said they'd either support or not oppose Scottish re-entry to the European Union.