THE First Minister will today tell European politicians and officials that people in Scotland “comprehensively reject Brexit” when she gives a major speech in Brussels where she will meet with European leaders.

Nicola Sturgeon will restate the country’s support for continued membership of the EU and her government’s commitment to democracy, equality, co-operation and equality when she addresses the audience at a think tank this morning.

Ahead of her speech entitled “Brexit and what next for Scottish EU relations” she will meet with the European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and later with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured).

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Her visit comes two weeks after the European elections - where the Remain-backing SNP topped the poll in all but one council area - and where the Lib Dems, which also back staying in the EU - came first in Shetland.

“People living in Scotland have shown once again that they comprehensively reject Brexit and want to remain as a European nation,” she will tell the audience of politicians, civil servants and journalists attending her address at the European Policy Centre.

“Membership of the EU not only has huge economic benefits for Scotland, but is the basis of the core values we share around democracy, equality, co-operation and human rights.

“My engagements in Brussels are an opportunity to outline the Scottish Government’s support for those values and how they contribute to a better Scotland, Europe and wider world.”

She will add: “On issues such as climate change and tackling inequality we can all work together to ensure the wellbeing of our citizens, as well as the wealth of member states.”

The visit comes after the SNP is poised to exert greater influence in the European Parliament following the elections in Scotland last month when the party netted three MEPs.

They will sit in the parliament with the European Free Alliance group which forms a single bloc along with the Greens.

Alyn Smith is expected to be confirmed as President of the European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament this week. The position would automatically make him vice President of the Greens/EFA group.

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The group could hold the balance of power after the parliament’s biggest parties – the European People’s Party and the Socialists/Democrats – lost their majority.

Looking ahead to the meeting with Barnier, the chief negotiator’s spokesman said last week: “I can confirm the meeting on Tuesday. The First Minister is also meeting with President Juncker.

“I believe it will be the third time the First Minister has met Monsieur Barnier. The meeting came at her request and he accepted of course.

“We are going to be in listening mode. We are not negotiating of course, but we are willing to listen to people from the UK who come over and give us their side of things.”

The meetings with Juncker and Barnier will be the first since Sturgeon announced her intention to hold a new independence referendum before May 2021.

They also follow Theresa May’s resignation as Tory leader and as the contest continues for the election of her successor – with hardline Brexiteer Boris Johnson the bookies’s favourite.

Johnson said over the weekend he is prepared to withhold the £39bn “divorce bill” from the EU unless the UK gets a better deal.

EU figures have previously warned such action would lead to a no deal Brexit.