Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will set out how an independent Scotland could become an "equal partner" in the European Union in a key speech in Brussels.
The SNP depute leader is to address leading figures from a number of EU organisations.
The speech, on Tuesday, will be the first time she has raised the issue of constitutional reform in Brussels – the city which hosts the European Commission, European Parliament and other bodies such as the European Council.
In it, the Deputy First Minister will insist having an independent Scotland as a member of the EU would be "good for Europe as a whole".
Ms Sturgeon will say that negotiations over an independent Scotland's place in Europe will commence in the autumn of 2014, in the event of a Yes vote in the referendum.
She will confirm to the audience, which will include members of the European Commission and European Parliament, as well as permanent representatives of the EU, that Scotland would seek to retain the UK's existing opt-outs from the euro and the Schengen free-travel agreement.
"Scotland is a nation which is already an integral part of the European family – something we have committed to continue in an independent Scotland," Ms Sturgeon will say.
"A Yes vote for independence in autumn 2014 will give the Scottish Government a democratic mandate to negotiate with both the UK Government and EU.
"Scotland will start negotiations in autumn 2014 as a nation whose people are already EU citizens and as a nation whose membership would therefore require minimum change to existing arrangements.
"Our intention to remain outside Schengen, retain the pound and keep Scotland's share of the UK rebate will simply be a confirmation of the status quo in terms of our relationship with the EU."
The Deputy First Minister will stress Scotland would "begin negotiations as a nation keen to become an equal partner in the EU – recognising its benefits, participating in dialogue about its future and contributing to its development and growth".
Independence, she will argue, would leave Scotland "crucially, for the first time ever, with our own voice and a seat at the top table".
Ms Sturgeon will say: "Our ties with our neighbours and friends across Europe are very important to us.
"That is why, after independence, we intend to remain as citizens of the European Union.
"Scottish membership will be good for us, good for other nations and good for Europe as a whole."
From: http://news.stv.tv 24/02/2013