The president of the European Commission has stepped into the row about an independent Scotland's place in the European Union (EU) by saying all new states will have to apply.
Jose Manuel Barroso's comments contrast with the SNP's claim that Scotland would automatically become a member state if voters back independence in 2014.
Mr Barroso told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme that he would not speculate now about possible secessions within existing states, such as the UK.
But he added: "To join the EU, yes, we have a procedure and it is a procedure in international law.
"A state has to be a democracy and has to apply to become a member of the EU. All the other member states have to give their consent.
"A new state, if it wants to join the EU, has to apply to become a member of the EU, like any state."