A NEW independence paper has been released by the Scottish Government on Europe.

The latest part of the Building a New Scotland series highlights the benefits of EU membership and outlines what Scotland could contribute to the bloc as an independent member state.

In a list of proposals, the paper suggests membership of the EU would allow Scots to have their right protected by EU law, have more career opportunities, travel more easily – crossing EU borders quicker and with equal access to healthcare while travelling in the bloc - and be a part of the world's largest single market with reduced barriers to trade. 

It additionally states Scots would benefit from easy access to cross-border justice – with court judgements in one member state being recognised in another.

The paper states Scotland has the capacity to contribute “significantly” to the EU as an independent member state by, for example, helping it to achieve sustainable energy security through access to Scotland’s extensive renewable energy resources.

READ MORE: Brexit 'robbed a generation of Scots' says minister

Helping the EU to deliver clean energy technologies through innovation and research expertise and welcoming EU students to Scotland’s world-class universities are other ways the paper highlights Scotland could contribute positively as a member.

As an independent member state in the EU, Scotland would be “representing its interests directly to the EU for the first time”, the paper adds, with a seat at EU decision-making tables.

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said in the paper: “In the 2016 referendum on EU membership, the people of Scotland voted by a margin of 24 percentage points to reject Brexit.

“Despite that clear democratic expression by the people of Scotland we have been removed from the EU against our will and Scotland is now suffering the disastrous outcome of the hard Brexit negotiated and hailed as a fantastic deal by the Westminster government.

“In this seventh paper in the Building a New Scotland series, we set out the values Scotland shares with the EU, the benefits of EU membership and the contribution Scotland can bring to the EU as a member state.

“I hope the ideas presented will be read and debated widely by the people of Scotland. I also hope that this paper will enhance understanding among our fellow Europeans of Scotland’s past and present and why we believe it is in all our interests for the around five million former EU citizens who live here in Scotland to regain that citizenship.”

Robertson has warned EU membership will “have its challenges” and Scotland could face a lengthy accession process.

There is debate within the independence movement about closer ties with Europe after independence, with the SNP and Greens favouring joining the EU while Alba argue joining the European Free Trade Association (Efta) would be quicker in the immediate term.

The paper has been launched at an event at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh.