All of the newscasters I listened to today kept referring to Catalonia as ‘an area the size of Belgium’ and the way they placed the emphasis in that phrase, implied that that was rather a large area. It’s not. If it gains independence, it will be one of the smaller nations in Europe. Just the size of Belgium, roughly.
It would be viable, though. It has Barcelona, which is a fairly important city, a seacoast which includes a major port and some nice Mediterranean beaches, some beautiful countryside which isn’t completely useless for farming, some historical castles, and borders with France and Spain.
I don’t see why Spain is so incredibly hostile to the idea of their leaving. If they stay in the European union, it will be almost the same as if they’d never left. Witness Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Of course, Spain’s tax base would shrink a bit, but so would the expense of trying to maintain by force what they can’t maintain with good will.
Anyway, regardless of the results of today’s referendum, Catalonian independence took a big step forward today. Pictures of Spanish police beating old women with their nightsticks and smashing the windows of polling places have turned world opinion (at least the way I read world opinion through the filter of Facebook) sharply against Spain and in favor of independence.
Basically, if the Spanish are big enough assholes to do that, the Catalonia deserves independence. They should have it.