European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker did not rule out possibility that Catalonia – if secedes from Spain – could become an EU member.

Jucker said on Thursday that Catalonia would not be able to join the European Union on the next day after a possibly successful independence vote and would have to undergo a standard accession procedure just like the states which have joined the bloc after 2004.

Catalan authorities are preparing to hold a new independence referendum on October 1 despite strong opposition from the government in Madrid.

On September 6, Catalonia’s parliament voted in favor of a law on transition to independence that regulates the region’s exit from Spain. The legislation was backed by 71 lawmakers, with ten votes against and no abstentions.

Catalonia has been seeking independence from Spain for years. On November 9, 2014, about 80 percent of the Catalans who took part in a non-binding referendum on the region’s status as part of Spain voted in favor of Catalonia becoming an independent state.

The vote was, however, ruled unconstitutional by the authorities in Madrid.

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