Jean-Claude Juncker has said he would respect the results of a yes vote in a Catalan independence referendum.
But the European Commission President, speaking at a Euronews question-and-answer session, said that an independent Catalonia would need to take the same path to joining the EU as other nations have done in the past, giving Spain a potential veto.
“We have always said that we would respect the rulings of the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Spanish parliament, said Juncker.
“If there were to be a yes vote for Catalan independence we would respect that choice.
“But Catalonia will not become an EU member state the day after that vote. It would have to follow that same procedure as other countries for accession.”
Catalonia’s parliament voted last week to hold an independence referendum on October 1, setting up a clash with the Spanish government.
Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended the referendum following a legal challenge by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
The government says the catalonia vote contravenes the constitution.