MORE than 15,000 people across Europe have signed an open letter asking EU leaders to “clearly signal” a path back for Scotland to ­becoming a member in advance of an ­independence referendum.

Europe for Scotland announced the total after a series of gatherings of solidarity were organised in cities including Berlin, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Munich and Brussels following the Supreme Court ruling that Holyrood must have consent from Westminster to hold a vote on leaving the UK.

The letter, which was launched last year and signed by more than 170 prominent European writers, artists and cultural figures, has also been published in 10 European countries.

READ MORE: Europeans send support to Scotland after Supreme Court ruling

It states: “We are Europeans from across the continent and around the world. Naturally, we disagree about many things. But we all agree on this: we want the people of Scotland to know that Europeans everywhere would welcome them back in the European Union if this is still their democratic wish.”

It notes that Scotland voted by a 62% majority to remain in the EU, and when it did it was as part of the UK.

“Separating themselves from the UK to become a member state of the EU is a different matter. One that demands its own referendum, which the Scottish Parliament and ­government have formally requested. At present the UK Government ­refuses to ­permit this,” it says.

The letter urges EU leaders not to “stand idle while this impasse lasts”, saying it is an unprecedented development which requires “fresh thinking”.

“Therefore, we call on you to ­ensure that the EU clearly signals a path for Scotland to become a ­member in ­advance of any ­independence ­referendum,” it states.

“The usual process is for the EU to respond to a membership ­request only when it comes from an independent country.

“Scotland deserves a different ­process. While it is legally part of the UK, the Scottish Government cannot negotiate with the EU. But the EU can declare that, because Scotland has already long been part of the EU, should it become legally and democratically independent, it need not apply as a ‘new’ accession candidate.

“Instead, the EU and its member states should make a unilateral and open offer of membership: an exceptional proposal to match Scotland’s exceptional circumstances.”

The letter has been in publications across Europe including Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, ­Poland and the Czech Republic. At the Europe for Scotland gatherings, supporters told Scots the EU will ­always leave a light on for Scotland.