An independent Scotland would be welcome to join the European Union, a senior German lawmaker and ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel has said after Britain's vote to leave the bloc.

“The EU will still consist of 28 member states, as I expect a new independence referendum in Scotland, which will then be successful,” said Gunther Krichbaum, a member of Merkel's conservatives and chairman of the European affairs committee in parliament.

“We should respond quickly to an application for admission from the EU-friendly country,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday that Scotland will do whatever it takes to remain in the EU, including potentially blocking legislation on a British exit from the bloc.

While Britain as a whole voted narrowly to leave the EU in last Thursday's referendum, Scotland voted by a 62 percent to 38 percent margin to remain. In a referendum in 2014 Scotland voted 55 percent to 45 percent to stay part of the United Kingdom, but polls show that support for independence has since risen.