President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker speaks to the press at the European Council - AFP
BRUSSELS - 14 September 2017: An independent Catalonia would have to apply to join the European Union, the president of the executive European Commission said on Thursday, adding that such a policy would apply to any new state.
Catalonia's parliament has laid the ground for a referendum on independence from Madrid on Oct. 1, although Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended the vote. Judges are now considering whether the legislation contravenes Spain's constitution.
"If there were to be a 'yes' vote in favour of Catalan independence, then we will respect that opinion. But Catalonia will not be able to be an EU member state on the day after such a vote," Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said on YouTube and broadcast by Euronews.
Echoing a stance made by his predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso, Juncker said any newly independent state must follow the same EU membership procedures as all aspirants, citing Scotland and, in jest, his home country, Luxembourg.
"If northern Luxembourg were to cede from the south, the same rules would apply," Juncker said.