Former European Council president Donald Tusk says Brussels feels "empathy" towards an independent Scotland joining the European Union.
Nicola Sturgeon has said an independent Scotland would seek full EU membership.
When asked if this would be looked upon favourably, Mr Tusk said there would be enthusiasm but he warned the country would not be automatically accepted.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned the comments could encourage "separatist tendencies" in the EU.
They were "rather un-European and rather irresponsible," he added.
"I'm not sure European leaders, let alone here in the UK, would actually welcome that comment," he said.
Mr Tusk, who served as European Council president for five years until November last year, told the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show that he feels "very Scottish, especially after Brexit".
When asked about the prospect of an independent Scotland joining the EU, the Polish politician said he had to "respect the internal debate in the United Kingdom" and it was not his role to intervene.
But when pressed on the level of support in the EU towards an independent Scotland joining the union, he said: "Emotionally I have no doubt that everyone will be enthusiastic here in Brussels, and more generally in Europe.
"If you ask me about our emotions, you will witness I think always empathy."
However he warned that any future entry bid on the part of an independent Scotland would not be automatically accepted - "formalities" and treaty agreements would still need to be adhered to. [...]
Full article on BBC
Related article on LSE: What would it take for Scotland to rejoin the EU as an independent state?
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