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The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is to meet this week with the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

The meeting, set for Tuesday, comes at a difficult time. On the one hand, the United Kingdom's exit process from the European Union is still up in the air. And on the other, the announcement of a second referendum in Scotland raises new questions.

Sturgeon announced in April in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh that her government intended to hold a second referendum on independence. She said that it was important for it to be held "within the lifetime of this parliament," that is, by the spring of 2021.

The justification of this time scale was tied up with the uncertainties of Brexit. Sturgeon explained that only by guaranteeing a vote on independence in the current legislature would Scots know they had a clear option to avoid the worst effects of Brexit, whatever the final relationship between Britain and the EU might be.

Scotland voted to remain within the EU by 62 percent to 38 percent in the 2016 Brexit vote.  

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