The Scottish government will open discussions with Brussels immediately about finding a way to keep Scotland in the European Union, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed this morning, as the UK hurtles towards a second referendum on Scottish independence.
After a meeting of her cabinet this morning the First Minister outlined her plans to do whatever she can to make sure Scotland is not "dragged out" of the EU with the rest of the UK, adding she will be talking directly to the other 27 member states and the Brussels institutions.
Those conversations are set to begin straight away, with the SNP leader indicating plans to hold a conference in Scotland of the general counsels of all the EU member states within two weeks to discuss the diplomatic, legal and economic options available to Scotland.
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"We will seek to enter into immediate discussions with EU institutions and EU member states to explore all possible options to protect Scotland's position in the EU," Sturgeon said.
She fell short of guaranteeing there would be a second referendum on independence, following yesterday's statement that it was "highly likely".
With the EU previously concerned about engaging with independence-seeking politicians for fear of setting a precedent to similar separatist movements, such as in Catalonia, it is unclear how willing the EU will be to establish a dialogue over Westminster's head.
A spokesperson for the European Commission told Reuters: "Scotland is part of the UK. Constitutional arrangements apply. We will not speculate further."