As part of the Today programme's new year leader interviews Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party spoke to presenter Sarah Montague.
Yesterday Westminster passed legislation allowing the Scottish government to hold a referendum next year.
This has been the lifelong dream of Mr Salmond and yet for such a normally sure-footed politician his leadership on what independence means for Scotland has been criticised.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has directly contradicted what the SNP has been claiming, and says a newly independent Scotland would have to rejoin the European Union as a new member.
The significance of that is it would mean signing up to join the euro and the Schengen agreement on free movement - something the rest of the UK has opted out of.
Mr Salmond insisted that the European Commission would not "comment on hypothetical circumstances and they would respond to a member state".
"I'm certain that the point will be established beyond argument that Scotland will negotiating the referendum, before independence, from within the context of the European Union," he said.
"Oil rich, fishing rich, renewable energy rich Scotland will certainly be wanted in the European Union," he argued.
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