Independent Scotland EU Bid 'Almost Impossible'
An independent Scotland joining the European Union would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible", according to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Mr Barroso said if the country voted for independence in a referendum on September 18 it would have to apply for membership and get its bid approved by all current member states.
The Scottish government has said the country would try to gain membership within 18 months of a yes vote.
But Mr Barroso suggested this could run into difficulties. "We have seen Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
"So it is to some extent a similar case because it's a new country and so I believe it's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of our countries getting the agreement of the others."
Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon labelled the comments "preposterous" and said the comparison with Kosovo was "ridiculous".
"Scotland is already in the EU and has been for 40 years," she said.
"As Mr Barroso rightly says, the question of Scotland's independent membership of the EU is a matter for the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the views of other member states - not the European Commission.
"The fact of the matter is that no member state has said it would veto Scotland's continuing membership."
Mr Barroso's comments came after First Minister Alex Salmond described Chancellor George Osborne's intervention into the independence debate as "ill-thought-out and misinformed".
Earlier this week, Mr Osborne said Scotland would not be able to keep the pound if it voted for independence.
Mr Salmond has said he intends to "deconstruct" this when he speaks to business leaders in Aberdeen on Monday.
"The reality is the pound is as much Scotland's as the rest of the UK," he said.
"By suggesting otherwise, the Westminster establishment - Tories, Labour and Lib Dems - are reaping a backlash from the ordinary people of Scotland, who feel this is an attempt to bully Scotland ahead of the democratic choice we all look forward to this September."
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.