AN independent Scotland could be a "bridge-builder" to Europe, Scotland’s Constitution Secretary has said.

In an interview with The Times, Angus Robertson compared Scotland to Austria, saying the EU country could serve as a model for a post-independence Scotland.

He said Scotland could offer a link between England and the Scandinavian countries, and to the EU.

The Edinburgh Central MSP also took aim at the idea that Scottish nationalism is the same as British nationalism.

READ MORE: It’s time for Brian Cox to re-assess his thoughts towards ‘nationalism’

Robertson said while British nationalism seeks to put up barriers, Scottish nationalism is about “being part of the wider world”.

He told The Times: “There is no point becoming a sovereign state unless you are wanting to do something with the powers of statehood, the powers of international relations, the opportunities of diplomacy and co-operation.

“I think Scotland has the potential role as a bridge-builder. This is a direct parallel with Austria.”

Robertson went on to criticise “British exceptionalism” which he said has been used for anti-EU “propaganda”.

He said: “There are lessons to be learnt about populism and the weaponising of themes such as immigration — they are common trends in UK and Europe.

“In the UK there is a particular strain of British exceptionalism which seeks to claim that we in this island are not Europeans, when we are.

“We have decades of tabloid headlines that have fed a never-ending bilge of misleading anti-European propaganda.”

Robertson was then asked if Scottish nationalism promotes the idea of putting up barriers.

He said: “As with all isms, there are different forms. While British nationalism is about putting up barriers, mainstream Scottish nationalism is about being part of a wider world — particularly as a European nation and also as a nation in the British isles where those of us who support Scottish independence look forward to having a relationship as equals with the other home nations.

“At the present we have no agency in Brexit and no agency in Europe. So we are bobbing along in a sea of Boris Johnson’s Brexit making, as opposed to being a part of a process where we would be represented, and where we would have a lot to offer.”

Robertson was asked if this was the case, why support for independence wasn’t higher.

READ MORE: Is Ruth Davidson for prime minister the devious new Tory plan?

He replied: “Point to a single European country in the mainstream of politics where the governing party is polling in the fifties.

“There isn’t one. Let’s reflect reality here. The SNP is by any measure among the most successful political parties in the whole of Europe. And over the last year we have seen sustained support for Scottish independence, up to 56 per cent at one stage.

“We have to, through persuasion and discourse with as yet unpersuaded neighbours and friends, build the growing support which exists in favour of independence.

"I look forward to Scotland learning the lessons of what a reimagined small country with a significant capital in Vienna has managed to do, which is to emerge beyond the history, both good and bad, to redefine the city as it is in the 21st century.”