A GREEK MEP has said a post-independent Scotland would be warmly welcomed back into the EU and will not face the same issues as Montenegro.

Speaking on a Brexit panel, Maria Spyraki, said Scotland will always have a place in the EU after leaving the Union.

Montenegro hopes to join the EU in 2025 and is the most advanced Western Balkan state in the talks with the bloc. The new government, which is believed to be pro-Russian and pro-Serbian, has stated that EU membership remains its top priority but Spyraki said the process would be easier for an independent Scotland.

READ MORE: Poll on Scots' attitudes to Europe makes awkward reading for UK parties

There has been increased reporting and commentary in global newspaper and television forums – including on CNN – on Scottish independence and the tensions among the four parts of the UK since the Brexit referendum in 2016 and the eventual departure from the single market on December 31.

Kirsty Hughes, the director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, brought up the issue of Scotland's EU membership, pointing out that a series of polls have shown majority support for indyref2 and Scotland rejoining the EU as an independent member state.

She said: "Scotland voted 62% to stay in the EU in 2016. I think it would be even more than that if that vote was held today. Since last June we've seen over 20 opinion polls showing majority support for independence in Scotland – anything from 51% to 58% of the population.

"The pro-independence Scottish National Party is in power. They have very good opinion polls ahead of our Scottish Parliament elections in May.

"Boris Johnson has said he's not going to allow another independence referendum yet but a lot of commentators and some politicians in London are starting to say how long can you refuse if that is what Scotland wants.

Hughes went on: "I think what one of the most important things to note when you look at these polls is that younger people are the most strongly pro-independence. I'm not just talking about people who are 18 or 20; I'm talking three-quarters of people under the age of 45 years old are pro-independence.

"Younger people are also more pro-European so I think there's a whole lot of issues we could talk about: will Scotland split from Britain, what impact will that have on what used to be the UK, will it even be called the UK anymore, how easy or hard will it be for Scotland as a small northern European country to rejoin the EU. 

"It's partly about leaving the EU against our will but I think it's also driven very much by this failing state of British and Westminster politics. These things that are causing problems in the EU-UK relationship are also causing not-unrelated problems in the UK as a whole."

READ MORE: UK Political magazine says SNP majority in May gives 'unarguable mandate' for indyref2

Spyraki responded: "In the case of Scotland, it will by definition puzzle us on both sides in the future. And by definition it will be a case for each one of us to have a very specific approach.

"Now for the EU, Scotland is not Montenegro and, as a result, if Scotland decides eventually to come to our side of the EU, in spite of consequences for the whole of the United Kingdom but we shall be here to welcome Scotland.

"As my colleague who left the European Parliament along with other colleagues of mine in a very touching moment, we shall never leave Scotland alone because Scotland has greatly contributed to what EU is today."

The National reported last month that an expert said an independent Scotland could be “top of the list” to join the EU.

READ MORE: Expert says independent Scotland could be ‘top of the list’ to join EU

Barbara Lippert, the director of research at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, added that Brexit had been a “gamechanger” for many in Europe in understanding why some Scots want to leave the UK.

She said she believed there would now be “broad openness” to an independent Scotland becoming part of the EU.

Lippert, who is an expert in EU enlargement, insisted that Scotland would not be put “in the same basket” as Western Balkan states looking to join, such as Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania.

The German told an online event, organised by the European Movement in Scotland, that Scotland has a “far better image” than those nations.

She added that in terms of membership criteria “Scotland will look like a bright spot”.

She stated: “I think it will be top of the list of candidates, maybe together with Iceland and other Efta (European Free Trade Association) countries, which could also line up in the future.”

READ MORE: UK will NOT have veto on an independent Scotland rejoining the EU

Another expert, James Ker-Lindsay, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, dismissed any suggestion Scotland would have to “get in the queue” to join behind other nations, who had already said they wanted to join the EU.

He told the event: “I’ve seen people say this, if Scotland wants to become independent, if it wants to join the European Union it is just going to have to get in line behind the Western Balkans.

“And there is absolutely no reason to believe that is the case at all. That is not how EU enlargement works.

“It is simply a case with the European Union if you are ready, and there is a political will to take you in, then you join. You don’t have to defer that membership behind any other country that might be in advance of you.”

He added: “In many ways I could see the European Union wanting to take Scotland in to show that enlargement is still something.”

Professor Ker-Lindsay said Scotland could have a “very fast accession” in terms of negotiating its entry into the EU, but noted ratification could take longer.

“This is not going to be something that happens overnight,” he added.