Gornja Siga, on the western banks of the Danube, is an uninhabited no-man’s land between Serbia and Croatia. It is also the site of the world’s newest country—at least according to Czech politician Vit Jedlička, the founder and self-declared president of “Liberland.”
Liberland sits on a piece of land between Croatia and Serbia that has been left without claim by either country. No houses or other buildings sit on the land, and it is reported that the land has no known occupants. The controversial Eurosceptic declared the 7-square-kilometer area to be the world’s newest sovereign state on April 13, planting a flag and naming it Liberland.
A member of the Czech Party of Free Citizens, Jedlička is well-known for his liberal ideology.
“We have decided to start from scratch and show how little state is needed to make society work,” he said in a presentation at the University of Economics in Prague.
“The media calls us rightwing but we are not: we are not here for the rich; we are not here for the poor; we are here for everybody. This project has something for everybody and that’s the fantastic thing about it.
“We are a nation of people who are not happy with the recent status quo, with state interference and high taxation. And what really makes a nation if not a common feeling and approach to something?”
Jedlička is clear that fiscal policy will be the key to Liberland’s success. According to the politician, taxation will be optional and people will only finance specific development projects. Jedlička believes Liberland’s role as a tax haven will attract money from all over the world and bring prosperity to the region, comparing it to a Monaco or Lichtenstein.
The requirements for citizenship are few—applicants must only commit to respecting individual and property rights, be free of criminal convictions, and have no history of association with Nazi, communist, or other extremist groups.
Getting to Liberland involves a long drive on unpaved roads, and there is only one abandoned building in the area. However, this has not deterred potential citizens, who have offered expertise in everything from telecoms and coin minting to town planning. A Montenegrin lawyer has pledged to help draft the constitution. In the week following Jedlička’s announcement, applications for citizens numbered around 300,000—an average around one application every three seconds, from all corners of the globe.
Jedlička plans to send an official request for recognition to both Croatia and Serbia and later to all other countries. Liberland currently is not recognized by any other sovereign nation.
Liberland would not be the smallest sovereign state in the world, both Monaco and the Vatican City lay claim to smaller areas.