An independent Scotland could join the EU within two years of leaving the United Kingdom and would attempt to do so while using the pound, the SNP's Constitution Secretary has said.

Angus Robertson said an independent Scotland could rejoin the bloc within two to five years of negotiations with Brussels beginning and left the door open for Scotland to join the Euro at a later date.

The Constitution Secretary was speaking as he launched the Scottish Government’s latest chapter of its updated case for independence, focusing on rejoining the EU as an independent state.

The key document set out his plans for checks on goods which are traded across the border between an independent Scotland and England, with Mr Robertson claiming there would be the “least friction possible”.

The paper claims that “an independent Scotland’s EU membership would not be at the expense of the valuable relationships we have, and will continue to have, with the UK”.

It adds: “As a member of the EU, an independent Scotland’s trading relationship with the rest of the UK would be governed by whatever agreed trade arrangements between the EU and the UK were in place at the time.

“The other nations of the UK and Ireland will remain Scotland’s close and valued friends.”

But the paper points to an ambition to “apply to re-join the EU as soon as possible”.

The document stresses that the average time to join the EU is under five years from starting negotiations, but Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the bloc in less than two years.

It adds that “the amount of influence smaller EU states enjoy, both formally and informally, is in stark contrast to Scotland’s current position as part of the UK outside the EU”.

The report sets out that the process of re-joining the bloc would be “closely aligned” with the strategy fir establishing a Scottish pound.

Scotland aims to rejoin the EU while using the pound, before moving to its own currency as quickly as possible.

Mr Robertson said: “Our plans, as have been outlined in the document, are for us to begin as a sovereign state while using the currency that we currently have, and we will be moving as quickly as we can towards having a currency of our own.

“That would put ourselves in the same position as a number of other European Union member states that are members without having adopted the Euro.”

Pressed over whether MSPs could decided to join the Euro at a later date, Mr Robertson said:  “No current government can ever bind future governments, that’s a very basic constitutional principle in Scotland, in the UK and any other country. It’s a statement of fact.”

Mr Robertson said that following a Yes vote in a future independence referendum, Scotland would begin negotiations with the UK Government and EU.

He said: “A Yes vote in a referendum on that question in Scotland would begin the process of our negotiations with the UK and then, in time, with the EU.

“And, we would imagine that, that would take in the same sort of order as other countries that have joined, that’s anything between two years and five years.

“But we would be starting from a very different position.

“We’re literally the only part of the European Union that’s been taken out against our will and we’re the only part of the formerly part of the European Union that is seeking to rejoin.”

Mr Robertson said this would be a “relatively quick process”, saying Scotland already aligns with many EU rules.

The prospectus paper says there would be a “single trade window” online for companies which trade goods across the border with England.

Checks on goods need not happen at the border itself, the paper says, though it also suggests “spot checks” and automatic number plate recognition on “minor routes” along the border to monitor non-compliance.

Mr Robertson said Scotland should not be “dependent” on any single market, pointing to Ireland increasing its trade with Europe as it integrated with the continent’s system in recent decades.

He said: “There’ll be free movement of services and, where there are trade rules that need to be maintained because of cross border traffic, that’s exactly what Scotland is going to do.

“And it’s going to do it in the way where there’s least friction possible.”

He suggested the Sweden-Norway border as a model for how this would work.

The need for checks on goods would come about because the rest of the UK would not be in the EU single market.

Mr Robertson was also asked if it is possible to estimate what Scotland’s contribution to the EU budget would ultimately be.

He said: “No, you can’t because these are the things that are subject to negotiation as part of the accession process.”

The UK Government has repeatedly rejected calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence, and opposition parties at Holyrood have criticised the prospectus series as “fantasy”.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “People in Scotland want both their Governments to be concentrating on the issues that matter most to them, like growing our economy, halving inflation and improving public services.

“We want to work constructively with the Scottish Government to tackle our shared challenges because that is what families and businesses in Scotland expect.

“This is not the time to be talking about distracting constitutional change.”

Scottish Conservative shadow constitution secretary, Donald Cameron, said: “The SNP’s latest independence paper – only a fortnight after they published their previous one – is a total waste of taxpayers’ time and money.

“The public are sick and tired of SNP ministers relentlessly pushing their independence obsession at every turn and spending resources on these self-indulgent papers.

“Instead, they should be focused on the real priorities of Scots such as tackling NHS waiting times and supporting people and businesses with the effects the global cost-of-living crisis.

“Not only is this paper the wrong priority at the worst possible time, it also fully exposes how the SNP’s plan would mean a hard border with our nearest neighbours. They would gladly jeopardise jobs and livelihoods with our largest trading partner – the rest of the United Kingdom.

“Yet again, an SNP intervention on EU membership poses more questions than it answers – ministers still cannot explain how any of this would work and what the sacrifices would be.

“Humza Yousaf and the SNP need to stop squandering taxpayers’ cash on trying to break up the United Kingdom and focus on Scotland’s real priorities.”

“Humza Yousaf and the SNP need to stop squandering taxpayers’ cash on trying to break up the United Kingdom and focus on Scotland’s real priorities.”