SCOTLAND would have a “favourable” starting point during the application process to join the European Union due to its previous membership of the bloc, a leading Scottish political scientist has said.

Any country which applies to join the EU must satisfy several requirements known as the “acquis communautaire” before accession, which is divided into 35 thematic chapters covering multiple different laws, policies and practises that must be adhered to.

In a 36-page detailed report discussing the strengths and weaknesses an independent Scotland may have in joining the EU post-separation, political scientist Anthony Salamone noted that the acquis is “constantly changing”. And, with the UK no longer a member through Brexit, a lot of work will need to be done to align Scotland with the requirements.

READ MORE: Dan Wooton mocked for 'performative mourning' in Queen tribute

Salamone, managing director of think tank European Merchants, set out to discuss the finer points of the hotly debated issue in his analysis entitled “The Essential Questions on Membership of the European Union under Independence”.

In his introduction, the political analyst said that the debate in Scotland around joining the EU as an independent country is at present “superficial, repetitive and inward-looking”.

He criticised “recycled arguments” and said the debate has taken the “mistaken” view that relations with the EU are “essential” to the future of Scotland. “The reverse is true for the EU,” Salamone added.

The think tank director also set out that he believes the process for Scotland joining the EU could take at least four to five years.

In relation to the acquis, Salamone said that Scotland’s starting position would be “favourable” as it was previously part of the EU and its predecessors (through the UK) for 46 years.

He added: “Scottish institutions implemented the acquis in their areas of competence. It is an established democracy with a developed free-market economy.

“At the same time, Scotland is no longer part of the EU. Along with the wider UK, it is on a path of divergence from the EU and multiple chapters of the acquis concern matters reserved to the UK state.

“Accordingly, while Scotland would be well placed to satisfy the acquis at the point of accession, it could not meet the acquis in full today. Scotland’s actual compliance with the acquis would only be known once its laws and policies had been screened to assess their alignment.”

Later in the report Salamone added that Scotland’s prospects for joining the EU would “depend on it having qualified individuals to develop suitable pre-accession strategy, conduct the negotiations with the EU and undertake national preparations for Scotland to become ready to accept the rights and obligations of EU membership”.

A knowledge of EU functions, the politics of individual member states and a grasp of EU languages would be key requirements for the individuals undertaking these negotiations, he added.

Currency is also touched upon. Salamone said that a state which doesn’t have its own currency cannot fulfil the monetary policy acquis “in the normal way”.

However, Scotland’s path will be determined by the form of currency arrangement it chooses post-independence. If it did not have its own state currency by the point of accession, then “special arrangements” would have to be made.

While this is possible, it’s likely the EU would “seek accompanying guarantees”, Salamone added.

He said: “Such conditions could include a detailed plan from Scotland for the establishment of its own currency, including the sequencing of monetary conversion.

“It would want evidence on the economic, fiscal and monetary implications of this plan. It would surely want assurances that the plan would ensure the stability of the Scottish economy and likewise not affect the stability of the EU Single Market.”

But Scotland would not be obliged to join the euro at the point of accession, but instead a “general obligation” to complete the stages of the Economic and Monetary Union and to join the euro area eventually.

“That point could be never, if Scotland so decided,” Salamone added.

Salamone also provided analysis of the border issue following separation from the UK.

EU rules mean that an independent Scotland would have an obligation to implement the bloc’s laws at its borders, which would mean that though there would be free movement of people through the Common Travel Area (CTA) with the UK, it would not be the same for goods.

“Trade in goods between Scotland and the UK would be subject to border checks and controls, just like trade between the UK and any other EU Member State,” he said.

In the event of independence, Scotland would have to construct its own infrastructure for border controls on trade in goods, whether it joins the EU or not – unless a deal was brokered to form a customs union with the UK.

Salamone added: “Once an EU member, Scotland would have no standing to negotiate directly with the UK on matters under the EU-UK relationship.”