Politics A new state has emerged in Europe - the Free Republic of Liberland


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Liberland, officially the Free Republic of Liberland (Czech: Svobodná republika Liberland) is a self-proclaimed micronation, situated on an unclaimed parcel of land at the western bank of the Danube river between Croatia and Serbia, sharing a land border with the former. It was proclaimed on 13 April 2015 by Vít Jedlička. The official website of Liberland states that the nation could be created due to the ongoing Croatia–Serbia border dispute.[1][2][3][4] Since the Yugoslav Wars, some borderland territories between Serbia and Croatia have been disputed, such as the Island of Vukovar and the Island of Šarengrad. However, a few other territories went unclaimed by either side. Liberland was proclaimed on the largest of those land parcels, which is known as Gornja Siga (meaning upper tufa).[1][2] The area is about seven square kilometers, and most of it is covered with forests. As described by Jedlička, neither Serbia, Croatia or any other nation claims the land as their own (terra nullius). The border is defined in accordance with both Croatian and Serbian border claims and does not interfere with any other state sovereignty.[1][8] Jedlička has stated that an official diplomatic note shall be sent to both Croatia and Serbia, and later to all other states, with a formal request for international recognition.[9]

However, the young nation faces some serious problems, poor infrastructure and demographic crisis:

There are no residents. A journalist from Parlamentní Listy (cz) who visited the area in April 2015 found a house that had been abandoned for about thirty years, according to people living in the vicinity. The access road was reported to be in a bad condition.[5]

But first 10 pioneers are already willing to establish settlement in the area:

On 20 April, Jedlička held a lecture at the Prague School of Economics, titled "Liberland – how a state is born" (Czech: Liberland – jak vzniká stát). He discussed various aspects of the project and the interest it has managed to attract around the world. One topic that he brought up was the Montevideo Convention, and explained how Liberland was getting closer to satisfying the principles of the convention, which is commonly used to define a state. At the time of the lecture, the Liberland project had assigned ten people to the task of handling foreign relations. There were also reportedly people who were willing to establish residency on the territory.

Many other topics were also covered, such as the concept of voluntary taxation and how the large number of citizenship applications has made it necessary to make the process more effective and restructure it, since it only was based on an e-mail account. Another thing mentioned in the lecture was the plan to organize some type of event where everything is sold tax-free, and Jedlička explained that Croatia would not be able to prosecute them because Croatia itself has stated that the area is not within its jurisdiction.[14]

There is a threat of an imminent war (fortunately casualties aren't going to be high):

South Maudlandia, an Antarctic-based micronation, has laid claim to the territory since 18 March 2015 as the Autonomous Region of Pannonia.[10] Another micronation project called Paraduin has also already staked out a claim at the same area, and the author also mentions Liberland in the project blog.[11]




The land area of Liberland is over 7 km2, which means that it is bigger than, for example:

Vatican City - 0,44 km2
Monaco - 2,02 km2
Navassa Island - 5,4 km2
Gibraltar - 6,5 km2
Clipperton Island - 6 km2
Wake Island - 6,5 km2


Don't destroy Liberland's dream of nationhood

It started as a publicity stunt and continued as a joke. Yet the founding of Liberland, a new European nation, should not be taken lightly.
In setting up Liberland, libertarian Czech politician Vit Jedlicka was inspired by the example of American Jeremiah Heaton. Last year, Heaton traveled to an unclaimed stretch of desert between Egypt and Sudan, where he set up the Kingdom of North Sudan so his seven-year-old daughter could be a princess. Heaton researched the concept of terra nullius, or no man's land, which in previous centuries allowed empires to claim newly discovered territories, then looked for places where it still applied. The 800 square miles of uninhabited rock and sand known as Bir Tawil suited his purpose, and he went off to plant a flag his kids had helped make.

Jedlicka went Heaton one better: The land he claimed for his state on April 15, also by planting a flag, is much better suited for habitation, although no one lives there now. Gornja Siga is located on the Danube, between Serbia and Croatia, and it's been claimed by neither state following a border dispute. It's only 3 square miles of woodland, but hey, Monaco is smaller than a square mile and it's a bona fide country.

Jedlicka purportedly wants to build a libertarian utopia. He envisions a population of about 35,000, roughly the size of Liechtenstein, another dwarf European state. They will elect a small standing parliament but mostly make decisions by referendum, borrowing from the Swiss practice of direct democracy and the Estonian one of electronic voting. The country will use a cryptocurrency -- a la Bitcoin -- that doesn't require a central bank. In lieue of a traditional tax system, people will decide what they want from the state and how much they want to pay for it. Jedlicka is confident that a lot of what we think of as government services can be provided by volunteers: Firefighters, for example, don't have to be public employees.

If this sounds half-baked, it is. Jedlicka started thinking about the details only after the interest in his stunt grew far beyond his expectations. Since he founded Liberland last week, 109,000 people have liked its Facebook page. He's been interviewed by Time and Fox News, as well as numerous European media outlets. Czech and Serbian journalists traveled to Gornja Siga (some were denied entry by Croatian border guards). People started calling with offers to set up Internet service and even a bank. Jedlicka jokes that he runs the busiest immigration office in the world: There are, he says, too many citizenship applications for his volunteer team of seven to process.

There is definitely demand for an experimental state in which libertarian ideas could be tried out -- a kind of Galt's Gulch from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" (not to be confused with "Galt's Gulch Chile," an attempt to create an autonomous retreat for millionaires that some have decried as a scam).

Setting up a country on no man's land is not the same as cobbling together a commune on territory already run by a government. Even the residents of Christiania, the long-standing anarchist "free town" in Copenhagen, pay Danish taxes. Purity is a necessary condition for discovering how modern people would govern themselves if given the chance. Unlike our ancestors, explorers, pioneers and brutal colonizers, we've never had a chance to try. Perhaps we could do it differently than they did, given our technological advancement, broader views on race and gender and, one hopes, a more peaceful disposition.

Sadly, Jedlicka's undertaking is probably doomed to failure. Planting a flag is not enough to establish occupation of a terra nullius.People would actually have to settle in Liberland, something Serbia and Croatia are not likely ever to allow. Perhaps Jedlicka doesn't even deserve a country. His preparations for statehood are too chaotic.

Ironically, some form of governance is probably needed to make such experiments possible. One could imagine states voluntarily handing over bits of disputed or unoccupied land to a United Nations commission, which would consider applications for statehood from initiative groups. The would-be founders of new countries could work on development plans, crowdsource funding, present their projects on the Internet. The commission would take the popular support, expressed in Facebook likes and crowdsourced dollars, into account when allocating the land. Its main task would be to weed out extremist, religious and corporate projects. It would give a chance to any ideology with enough supporters to make a go of it.

The land could be granted to the enthusiasts for 10 or 20 years. If their project succeeded in establishing a functioning economy and government system, it would be eligible for recognition by other countries. If it failed, the land would go to a different group.

Innovation doesn't stop in any other areas, so why should it be impossible in nation-building? The likes of Jedlicka and Heaton may not be convincing as kings and presidents, but then our countries' actual rulers sometimes aren't, either -- and they are for some reason allowed their experiments.

Interesting and entertaining.
I have a feeling that existing European countries will go through regional disintegration in next couple of hundred of years. What will have at the end are small autonomous (more or less) regions/provinces consolidating under European Union. Sort of United States of Europe, but with hundreds of small states.
Here is the plan:


It's funny. Sorry I am replying a year later. But, was it really necessary to put Czech as the official language. Putting Rusyn or Sorbian (or something Slavic, but not used often) would be interesting.

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