MORE than 1500 Scots have signed a petition calling for the country to be involved in EU enlargement discussions.

The campaign was launched by Europe for Scotland less than a fortnight ago but has already whipped up hundreds of backers.

The petition asks European citizens and MEPs in the next Parliament to “to keep Scotland part of the conversation on a democratic, open and fair EU enlargement” ahead of the European election next year – the first one Scotland will not have a say in.

Europe for Scotland co-director Andrea Pisauro said he is keen to double the number of signatures before the year is out.

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He told The National it has been emotional seeing messages come in from Scots who are keen to maintain a bond with Europe following a Brexit most of the country didn’t ask for.

He said: “It’s a fantastic start. People see very happy to sign, but we want to double the number of signatures by the end of the year and just keep campaigning.

“We are doing this because we want to have an impact on the European election campaign which is going to be in May mostly. 

“After that there will be a big discussion in the new European Parliament to elect the new European Commission.

“These are all crucial moments in European democracy and we want Scotland to be part of the conversation, we want European politicians to keep Scotland in mind and citizens to keep Scotland in their hearts.

“It’s quite moving what people have written because they leave messages of hope but also regret for how Brexit was imposed on Scotland. They are very thankful us Europeans are doing something for Scotland so there is quite an emotional connection. We love Scotland and we want this bond maintained.”

Pisauro says he hopes Europe for Scotland can share some of the messages people have left so Europeans can see them.

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While Scotland no longer has a voice in EU institutions following Brexit, Europe for Scotland has said it believes the country should still be at the forefront of politicians’ minds in debates about expanding the bloc which are gathering pace.

No country has joined the EU since Croatia in 2013 but the likes of Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina are looking to join.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said enlargement is a “common interest” earlier this month as she told the EU Parliament “there’s a sense of urgency to unite our European family”.

Later this week, a crucial European Council meeting will be held in Brussels to discuss starting negotiations for Ukraine’s entry into the EU.

Pisauro added: “I think that’s important to keep in mind. Ukraine is going through a war, it was granted candidacy just a year ago, and despite the situation the EU is ready to very quickly start the process to negotiate Ukraine’s entry into the EU.

“So we want Scotland to be part of this climate. If the EU welcomes Ukraine, why not Scotland?”

The petition will continue to be open until the European election, which will take place between June 6 and 9 next year.

To sign click here.