World’s Newest Country

Most countries are formed after wars have then apart old boundaries, or are renamed old ones, but there is a new one being planned in the centre of Europe which is widely being treated as a joke. This is from yesterday’s i paper:

When he plunged a flag into the banks of the Danube and declare date birth of the Free Republic of Liberland, Vit Jedlicka was dismissed a joke. One year on, the Czech Eurosceptic’s vision of a libertarian paradise born on a patch of unwanted land has 400,000 would-be citizens who insist they are very serious, with some preparing to claim their land. for now, thanks to the efforts of the Croatian border police Liberland does not have a single inhabitant, and its 7 sq km of boggy wetlands boast just one dilapidated building, an abandoned hunting lodge.

Liberland lies on the Croatia-Serbia border, roughly half way between Zagreb and Belgrade, and is the product of a border dispute between eh two countries that has lasted a quarter of a century. The would-be micro-nation is currently under the control of Croatia, which has set up police patrols and arrested dozens of people for attempting to access the territory. Yet the Croatians haven’t claimed it as part of their borders and are said to be hoping to use it as a bargaining chip leverage in a future treaty with their neighbours. With that treaty still unsigned 15 years after it was first discussed, however, Jedlicka sensed an opportunity and declared it independent – setting up a website where people fed up with their own governments could register their interest in the venture and donate to the cause.

“They made it no man’s land,” said Jedlicka after going a speech last weekend at the Institute o Economic Affairs in London, to a receptive audience of bankers, free marketeers and young Conservatives. “It was a good thin that Croatia shut the border, We needed one more year to discover everything we have to do tin order to take proper care of our own borders, to sign an a agreement with a private security agency and also to visualise what we want to do. We kind of appreciate what Croatia is dong at this stage, which is simply protecting our border from others.” He now claims that a group of Liberlanders are ready to break through that police blockade in such numbers “there is nothing they can do to stop it.”

“Mr Liberland” and his volunteer ministers recently held a conference to discuss Liberland’s future at a Croatian hotel near the border. In the summer he plans to stage a “State celebration” in a field next to the disputed territory which, if all goes to plan, could snowball into something much more. “we Would like to invite 5,000 people,” he says. “we already have 2 or 3 major festival organisers in the area helping us.. There is no way you can atop 5,000 people taking over control of Liberland.”

Asked if he is essentially advocating a hostile takeover, Jedlicka insisted it would be better for Croatia to give the festival-goers “a green light” for the move. But he added: “We are confident we will make it across the border. Take a look at how refugees are crossing borders so easily now. There is nothing that will stop 5,000 people crossing the border.”

His vision has caught the imagination of people from every corner of the globe. Not everyone will agree with his right-wing idea of a new state, however. Liberland would have just 5 laws, with the state’s only responsibilities surrounding justice, security and diplomacy, and tax would be paid on a”voluntary” basis. “We are ver ugh into building tax havens – or rather tax heavens, because there are already too many tax hells on this planet,” said Jedlicka.

People would also be free to smoke marijuana, drive as fast as they like and own guns – as long as they do’t yurt anyone else. and explaining why Liberland would have no sate health provision of any kind, he recalled spending 5 days in hospital in his home country and being outraged at the treatment of a drug addict. “There was a guy who came in every single day, almost dead. He was treated, ran away from hospital, then overdosed and came in the next night. This is the result of the crazy social system that we have.

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