MEMBERS of the European Parliament will do “whatever it takes to keep the door open” to welcome Scotland back into the European Union, a German MEP has told delegates at SNP conference in Aberdeen.

At the Young Scots for Independence (YSI) conference fringe event entitled "Scotland in Europe: shaping an internationalist, progressive independent nation", Reinhard Bütikofer spoke of his and his colleagues' continued support for Scottish independence. 

Bütikofer is a Member of the European Parliament for Germany and speaker of the delegation from the German Green Party. He also stressed that Europe is no longer paying attention to Westminster when it comes to Brexit.

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He was on the panel along with SNP elected representatives Alyn Smith MP, Anum Qaisar MP, Councillor Martha Mattos-Coelho as well as YSI executive members Olaf Stando and Steven Campbell.

Bütikofer opened his introduction remembering when Alyn Smith, who at the time was one of the six MEPs for Scotland, gave an impassioned speech in the European Parliament asking for the EU “not to let Scotland down” in 2016.

He said: “All of us still remember the hour when Alyn took the floor for the final Scottish contribution in the European Parliament before Brexit came down like a wall.

“So many of us pledged in that moment that we would endeavour whatever it takes to keep the door open, and we would hope that we could welcome Scotland back again as soon as possible – and that is still the pertaining sentiment".

Bütikofer added that since Brexit in 2016, what Scotland has done and how it has acted on the national and international stage has continued to show it shares the values of the European Parliament on issues such as “human rights, democracy and the rule of law”.

As an example of this, the MEP described the reception that the People's Deputy of Ukraine, Lesia Vasylenko received when thanking Scots for "opening their homes and hearts" to Ukrainians.

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He said: “Seeing how heartedly she has been welcomed and how much support there is for this fight for Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, which is at the same time a fight for the persistence of the European peace and security architecture, I think it is clear that Scotland is already part of this European family of nations.

“The decision is yours and we are willing to team up because we know that all of us in a fast-changing world will be stronger together.”

Alyn Smith echoed the MEP's points, while saying “EU membership is mission critical” for Scotland to thrive as an independent country. The MP for Stirling said that SNP is an internationalist party, as is the nation.