Snubbed: SNP go behind Barroso’s back to start EU negotiations

The Scottish National party (SNP) has gone behind the back of EU Commission president Manuel Barroso to start ingratiating itself with other European member states.

Just days after Barroso refused a request for talks from deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, she wrote a letter to the foreign ministers of all EU states insisting Scotland will soon be an independent member and distancing herself from David Cameron's calls for a referendum.

"I want to assure all member states that following a positive result in the [independence] referendum we would work with the United Kingdom and the rest of the EU in partnership to ensure we continued to play an active part in [this] community of interest," Sturgeon wrote.

The deputy first minister said the SNP did want some reform in the EU, particularly on fishing and carbon targets.

"However, we understand that those reform ambitions can only be achieved through dialogue with member states from within the EU," she continued.

"That is why we do not support the holding of an in/out referendum on the United Kingdom's membership. We have no intention of leaving the European Union.

"On the contrary, we will seek to be a constructive member of the Union working with other member states to maximise the benefits we have enjoyed as members for over 40 years."

The letter shows the SNP intends to get on the front foot in the debate over Scotland's role in the EU, after a disastrous few months in which Alex Salmond claimed to be eligible for automatic membership if Scotland became independent.

That assumption was laid to rest when EU officials made clear Scotland would need to apply for membership like any other member state.

Salmond was subject to a humiliating row when it transpired the legal advice he referred to did not exist.