Reality has a nasty habit of contradicting Spanish threats and intoxications. Insisting in their refusing to negotiate with Catalonia, Spanish officials and politicians insist that Catalonia will be excluded from the EU, forgetting that it is them that run that risk. A simple look at the map shows that Spaniards better behave and immediately recognize Catalonia, else their EU-bound lorries may suffer some unfortunate delays while being inspected by Catalan border authorities. Sorry about that, no harm intended, but border queues are sometimes inevitable and can take longer than expected. Madrid could have a taste of her own medicine, the same medicine she has been using against the Rock. Of course, nothing of the kind is really going to happen, simply because thanks to geography Spain needs Catalonia more than Catalonia needs Spain. As if overland trade with the EU did not suffice to make this clear, the Crimean crises and the corresponding policy proposals for the Old Continent to diversify natural gas supplies have led to renewed calls to build the Midcat natural gas pipeline from Spain to France through guess whom … yes, that's right, through Catalonia. Sorry, no prize for those who guessed, the name of the pipeline gave it away really.
The Midcat pipeline is thus yet another reminder of who commands a blocking position against whom, and should ideally serve to deliver a healthy dose of realism to Spanish nationalists who have repeated their own lies so many times that they have come to believe them themselves. Sooner or later, threats must give way to serious negotiations on post-independence economic cooperation, including a split of Spanish assets and liabilities (including military assets). If Madrid persists in her ways, she will be stuck with her huge national debt. Again, this is no threat, it will of course not happen because international creditors and the EU will force Spain to swallow her pride since their own taxpayers are already fed up and not ready to stomach another Spanish bailout, the only credible alternative to a deal with Catalonia, as already warned by Swiss bank UBS.
Alex Calvo, an expert in Asian security and defence, is guest professor at Nagoya University (Japan)