Scottish Greens have said they will not stand by as Scotland is "dragged" out of the European Union, with the party promising its support for any bid by Nicola Sturgeon to hold a second independence referendum.

The Scottish Government is consulting on draft legislation for another independence vote to be held if Holyrood ministers believe this is the only way to maintain Scotland's links with the EU.

As Greens from across Europe met in Glasgow, the Scottish party's co-convener Maggie Chapman said: "We will support moves by the Scottish Government to prepare legislation for another independence referendum, if this proves necessary.

"However we are still willing to consider, along with others in the UK and beyond, whether other options short of independence exist that respect the mandate for Scotland to remain in the European Union."


Ms Chapman, who leads the Scottish Greens jointly with MSP Patrick Harvie, added: "We voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU yet we face being dragged out against our will by an uncaring Conservative Government that we did not elect.

"We are not simply going to stand by and let this happen. We have been fighting since June 24 to keep Scotland where we belong, at the heart of Europe, and we are grateful to our European Green colleagues and comrades for their support."

She was speaking at the start of the European Green Party Council meeting, which brings together representatives from Green parties from all over Europe.

Monica Frassoni, co-chair of the European Green Party, said while the issue of Scottish independence should be decided in the UK, it is possible that Scotland could become independent and stay in the EU, as a successor state to the UK.

Asked if she would support independence if that would keep Scotland in the EU, she told reporters: "This is something that has to be decided within the UK."

While she said she personally is "not always in favour of new states popping up here and there", she added that it is "something that deserves a lot of attention".

On the issue of whether Scotland could be a successor state to the UK, the Italian said: "I am not sure if there is an argument that has been finalised.

"It is a little bit like what happened with Eastern Germany, but the opposite. When Eastern Germany was taken in it was an enlargement of Germany, this is a sort of shrinking of the UK, maybe."

Ms Frassoni, a former MEP, said: "We believe that the aftermath of the EU referendum is not only an issue for Scotland or the UK, it's also a question for the rest of the European Union.

"Whatever the results of the negotiations will be, it will affect the whole of the European Union."

Although politicians in Europe are waiting for more details of what Brexit could involve, she said that "certainly there is much more sympathy for Scotland and its position" than for the rest of the UK.

"The attitude of the Scottish Government and the Scottish public is seen with much more openness and sympathy," she said.