We understand if you haven’t heard of Liberland. Excuse us, the Free Republic of Liberland. The micronation only declared independence on May 1, and while it still isn’t a recognized country, Liberland “president” Vit Jedlicka believes in his heart of hearts that one day, it will be.
A border dispute between Croatia and Serbia is how Liberland came to exist. Well, that, and 31-year-old Jedlicka discovered unclaimed territory between the two countries and snapped it up.
“It was therefore terra nullius, a no man’s land,” the website reads, “until Vít Jedlicka seized the opportunity.”
Jedlicka, a former financial analyst and self-described libertarian, believes Liberland could become a successful financial centre due to its loose tax laws.
“I would categorize it as a tax heaven,” Jedlicka told CNBC. “The reason why Liberland was created was that the rest of the world ended up being a tax hell.”
Jedlicka and two other Czechs formed the new state on April 13 in an attempt to shake up existing politics.
“I tried for five years to change something in politics, but taxes were still rising, regulations were more and more intruding into people’s lives, so I found out that I couldn’t change it for better,” Jedlicka said. “My political opponents always told me I should create my own state to show how my liberalism would work. And then I did.”
Anyone can apply for citizenship to the tiny state through their website. To become a Liberland citizen, one must respect other people and their views, respect private property and have no criminal past. Over 300,000 applications have been submitted but space will be an issue. Liberland’s total area is a mere seven square kilometres, making it the third smallest state in the world (after the Vatican and Monaco). There also only happens to be one house there, so the infrastructure is lacking, to say the least.
No surprise, neighbours Serbia and Croatia aren’t exactly welcoming Liberland with open arms. In fact, they see the country as a bit of a joke. The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Jedlicka as a right-wing politician and said the “newly created country” was outside Serbia’s territory.
“The Ministry also considers this a frivolous act which needs no further comment,” the Serbian Ministry added.
Liberland is standing firm, however. The country already has a flag, a coat of arms, and Jedlicka stated that any currency, including Bitcoin, will be accepted. Liberland’s motto, “To live and let live,” is based on its simple beliefs. The website states: “Liberland prides itself on personal and economic freedom of its people, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, which significantly limits the power of politicians so they could not interfere too much in the freedoms of the Liberland nation.”
Jedlicka does get a B for effort (it was an A until the Bitcoin thing surfaced) but it’s probably never going to happen. Sorry, Vit.