The Scottish Government is "considering" whether to put pressure on UK ministers to obtain a specific legal opinion on Scotland's place in the European Union.

Only the British Government can request the view of the European Commission but no such request is likely to be made.

If that policy remains, voters could be left without key information on Scottish independence in the EU until after the referendum in autumn 2014.

Asked if the Scottish Government will now press Westminster counterparts for answers, a spokesman for the First Minister said: "It is a matter for the UK Government."

He later added: "We will consider our options in this matter as we move forward. At this stage, the European Commission have offered to provide legal opinion on an independent Scotland's continuing membership of the EU to the UK Government, as the relevant member state, an offer the UK Government has so far declined to take up."

The issue of European statehood dominated First Minister's Questions for the second week in a row at Holyrood, where Alex Salmond faced criticism from Labour, Tories and Liberal Democrats.

Mr Salmond insists Scotland will be "welcomed with open arms" after a Yes vote but others point out there is no legal precedent and no guarantee of a smooth transition.

Labour leader Johann Lamont led criticism of Mr Salmond at Holyrood, telling MSPs: "The charge at his door is that he asserts things for which he has no evidence and it is about time that the First Minister got serious about the future of Scotland.

"According to the First Minister, we will be in the EU without having to apply and we know that without asking any other member state or anyone for legal advice.

"We know we don't need to have the euro and we don't need to ask anyone about that either. And we'll keep the pound and we don't need to ask anyone about that too."

Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: "We know now that the the First Minister has no legal basis for his claims about Scotland's place in Europe."

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said it is unlikely Scotland would not be in the EU, but said questions remain about the terms of membership.

Shifting the debate to politics rather than legal opinion, he said assurances must come from the 27 other EU states.

"It's hard to believe the First Minister doesn't have one single agreement," said Mr Rennie.

"He clearly thinks all 27 will just sign up to whatever he wants."

Mr Salmond hit out at the "scaremongering campaign of Labour and their unionist colleagues in the Conservative party" over Scotland's future.

He insisted that "oil-rich, gas-rich, energy-rich Scotland, fishing-rich Scotland, will be welcomed with open arms in the European Union".

The Scottish Government admitted last week that it did not seek specific advice on a future place in the EU, despite initially going to court to keep that information from the public.

Law officers have now been asked to obtain legal advice.

The European Commission has said that a request must come from the UK, based on an as yet unspecified "concrete scenario".

The UK Government has said in a statement: "The UK Government does not obtain its legal advice from the European Commission. This Government has confirmed it does hold legal advice on this issue. Based on the overwhelming weight of international precedent it is the Government's view that the remainder of the UK would continue to exercise the UK's existing international rights and obligations and Scotland would form a new state.

"The most likely scenario is that the rest of the UK would be recognised as the continuing state and an independent Scotland would have to apply to join the EU as a new state, involving negotiation with the rest of the UK and other member states, the outcome of which cannot be predicted. Recent pronouncements from the commission support that view.

"We are clear that we are not pre-negotiating the terms of separation from the UK ahead of the referendum. It is the Scottish Government's policy on independence which is causing this uncertainty and they should be prepared to deal with the many questions it raises."

A European Commission spokesman said: "We have not defined the content or timing of a concrete scenario but one clarification that is important is that it would need to come from a member state, in this case the UK Government."

No such formal approach has been made, he said.