There is no "no big obstacle" to an independent Scotland joining the EU before Brexit, former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt has said.
Verhofstadt, who leads the who leads the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe parliamentary group in the European Parliament, made the comments in an interview with STV in Brussels.
The former prime minister was asked could an independent Scotland successfully join the European Union before the United Kingdom formally leaves the organisation.
Verhofstadt answered: "I think this possibility has to exist, yeah. Because if Scotland decides to leave the UK, to be an independent state, and they decide to be part of the European Union I think there is no big obstacle to do that.
"But again, that is a decision to be made by the Scottish people in a referendum now if they organise one and in the meanwhile I also have a little hope, you never know, maybe within a few years the whole of the population of the UK is in favour of joining the European Union."
The leading EU politician claimed it would be "suicide" for the organisation not to be "sympathetic" to people who want "to join the European Union".
He said: "We like to have all the citizens in who like Europe it would be completely suicidal if the European Union say no to those who want to come into the European Union. The European Union is so big, such a good and fantastic project that is suicide not to be sympathetic to those who want to join the European Union".
The Scottish Government is currently seeking a way for the country to stay in the European Union without having to hold an independence referendum.
Verhofstadt is expected to meet with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Brussels tomorrow.