EUROPE’S timid response to the Catalan crisis has infuriated many in the independence movement to the point that many are now questioning their support for EU membership.

Guy Verhofstadt MEP’s statement of Sunday, which called on Madrid to think again on the imprisonment of Catalan leaders, was a baby step in the right direction. But it’s fair to say European leaders haven’t covered themselves in glory since last month’s referendum was marred by violence. What does all this mean for Scotland? Should the SNP review its longstanding policy on Europe?

Scotland is not Catalonia. The UK doesn’t have a written constitution and it is likely that when Scotland does apply to re-join the EU we’ll do so as a new member state.

EU membership remains overwhelmingly in Scotland’s national interest. Brexit is already an unmitigated disaster — the pound is plummeting, food prices are up, businesses are starting to relocate, and we haven’t even left yet.

As for the argument we should look to EFTA — never forget EFTA is an organisation that would drastically undermine our sovereignty, as a large chunk of EU legislation would still need to be implemented but we’d have no voice in its formulation or the power to reject it. We’d have no MEPs, no Commissioner, no vote, no veto and no Minister at the table to argue our case. That’s not independence.

On top of that, we’d be forced to make a financial contribution to the EU budget but get nothing in return — no grants for farmers, no research funding for universities, no structural funds for local councils. Good luck to us if we want to sell EFTA in a future independence referendum.

But back to Catalonia. Imagine Scotland were an EU member state. It would have the ear of the the European Council president. It would have the power to withdraw its EU budget contributions unless the EU took a more meaningful response to the crisis. In this scenario, leaving the EU would deprive Catalonia of a friend and ally. We can’t exercise influence if we walk away.

Politicians on the continent criticise Brussels for all sorts of reasons — but at the end of the day, the EU is their home. And the EU is Scotland’s home. We’re not going to agree with every decision Brussels makes — but we achieve a lot more together in tackling the global problems of our day than we achieve alone.

The real revelation of this crisis is the weakness of Europe’s institutions. Europhobes have told us for decades that “Brussels” holds too much power, but in reality it is national governments that run the show. Think about it. Who or what, is obstructing the EU-wide resettlement of refugees in Europe right now? It’s hard-right governments like Orban’s in Hungary, not the EU institutions.

Likewise, who wanted to teach Greece a lesson during the sovereign debt crisis? Was it the EU institutions, or Merkel and other conservative governments in Northern Europe? The hard truth is that EU institutions are at the mercy of its member governments. So there is little point in directing anger at powerless MEPs on Twitter. A letter to Downing Street, the Taoiseach or the Élysée would go a longer way. As Alex Salmond acknowledged in a recent interview, no one would have expected Brussels to side with Catalonia over a member state government. Because that’s what Europe has become — a club of Member States who look out for one another. That has to change.

Reforming Europe is never easy. December marks ten years since the Treaty of Lisbon. It was a real struggle to get it through. But the Catalan crisis has exposed the deep flaws of European democracy and there has never been a better time to launch a constitutional convention on the future of Europe. to put it right.

We need a European Parliament that can speak for the people of Europe. Absurdly, it currently has no power to propose new legislation. It’s time to directly elect the Commission President and thereby give the institution some legitimacy.

and credibility.

For Scotland, the question shouldn’t be whether we’re in our out of Europe. We’re not going to walk away — there’s too much work to be done — and our friends in Catalonia need us.

And it’s time to abolish the European Council - which was only created as an institution in 2007 to address the democratic deficit. But instead of bolstering the EU’s legitimacy it has promoted the narrow, short-term self-interests of national governments. The European Council is suffocating the European ideal.

For Scotland, the question shouldn’t be whether we’re in or out of Europe - but the kind of member state we would be. Whether we’d be a passive, business as usual nation or one that pushed for change, greater democracy and a new social contract for every European citizen. We’re not going to walk away – there’s too much work to be done – and our friends in Catalonia need us.