Nicola Sturgeon has paid a visit to Brussels amid growing backlash over the UK referendum on leaving the EU. She expressed optimism about the possibility of Scotland remaining a member of the bloc.
Sturgeon said EU leaders were "sympathetic" to her position during her visit to Brussels on Wednesday, less than a week after Britons voted to leave the 28-member bloc.
The Scottish first minister was there to discuss with leaders the possibility of allowing the country to remain in the EU, even as European heads of state, including Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Francois Hollande, were meeting to discuss Britain's withdrawal, or Brexit. The question of Scotland's fate in the aftermath of Brexit has become especially pertinent, as the country overwhelmingly voted to remain in the union.
"Since I've been here today I've found enormous interest in the referendum result as you would expect and I've also had a sympathetic response to the position Scotland now finds itself in, facing the prospect of being taken out of the European Union against our will," Sturgeon said during a press conference.
"All options on the table"
However, she also emphasized that the process was just beginning and that no concrete decisions had been made. She said she simply wanted to ensure that "all the options are on the table" in the lead-up to Brexit negotiations.
Sturgeon also responded to a question regarding acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's comments earlier today that Spain would veto talks for Scotland to join the EU. She said his position wasn't "particularly surprising" and that European leaders were still in an early stage of the process.
This week's EU summit was the first to be held without Britain. European Council President Donald Tusk expressed regret over Britain's decision but also emphasized that Brussels wouldn't allow the country to cherry-pick its favorite aspects of the EU.
blc/kl (AFP, dpa)