Brexit: What will Nicola Sturgeon be asking European leaders for?

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright PA
Image caption Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is in Brussels to meet European leaders

Nicola Sturgeon is in Brussels for a series of meetings about how she could try to protect Scotland's interests in the UK.

I could see how her day had begun because we were on the same plane.

I am here to try to work out what it is Ms Sturgeon thinks she can achieve for Scotland in the wake of a UK wide vote to leave the EU.

The Scottish Parliament voted overwhelming yesterday to give the First Minister a mandate to try to maintain Scotland's links with the EU.

And she has not wasted any time in flying over to Brussels so she can be seen to be doing just that.

Even though the president of the European Council Donald Tusk refused to take a meeting - saying it would not be appropriate at this time.

But she has scored a meeting with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

So when Ms Sturgeon sits down with European leaders what will she be asking for?

Does she have a plan for some kind of special arrangement that could somehow protect Scotland's place in the EU?

Frankly no.

It's hard to see how Scotland and the UK could possibly have different relationships with the EU if they are still part of the same country.

And that's the point.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to stay in the EU

Ms Sturgeon has also made very clear that if the only way to keep Scotland's place in the EU is to have a second referendum on Scottish independence then that's just what she will do.

Today Scotland's first minister will focus on reminding the EU that Scotland voted to remain.

Scotland "did not let them down" as SNP MEP Alyn Smith put it yesterday.

And she will ask that Scotland be given special consideration in the Brexit negotiations.

But this trip is also about telling Europe that Scotland may soon be an independent country which wants to remain inside the EU or, if it has to, rejoin on the most favourable terms possible.

If there is to be another referendum on Scottish independence it is vital that Scotland is made to feel it will receive a warmer welcome in Europe than was on offer in 2014.

Ms Sturgeon may not have a precise road map for the way forward but it does her no harm at all that she is about the only UK political leader right now who looks like she is taking charge and plotting a path forward.