The Spanish prime minister has spoken out against Scotland being a member of the European Union if people there vote for independence in next year's referendum.
Mariano Rajoy's comments have been seen as a warning to the Spanish region of Catalonia.
The BBC reports Mr Rahoy has suggested that an independent Scotland would have to apply to become a member of the EU from the outside.
He said that if a "region" opted to leave a member state, then it would "remain outside the European Union".
It would then require the agreement of all 28 EU members before it was allowed to join, he said.
The Scottish government aims to negotiate entry from within the EU.
This would be done in the 18 months between a yes vote and formal secession from the UK, it has said.
Mr Rajoy strongly opposes having an independence referendum in Catalonia, in the north of Spain.
But the Catalan government says it plans to announce the date of its referendum, and the question it will put to Catalan voters, before the end of this year.