LIBERLAND: How One Man Plans to Build a Libertarian Utopia in the Middle of Europe

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 9.02.56 AMMight be a risk worth taking, moving to Liberland, the way things are going in the world. Would you move there?

When he plunged a flag into the banks of the Danube and declared the birth of the Free Republic of Liberland, Vit Jedlicka was dismissed by governments and media organisations as a joke.

Yet one year and many diplomatic missions later, his vision of a libertarian paradise born on a patch of unwanted land has 400,000 would-be citizens, the backing of a range of political movements around the world and even its own national beer.

Thanks to the efforts of the Croatian border police, Liberland has still technically not got a single inhabitant, and its 7 sq km of boggy wetlands boast just one dilapidated building, an abandoned hunting lodge.

But speaking in an exclusive interview with The Independent, “President” Jedlicka reveals that plans are nearly in place for a group of Liberlanders to break through that police blockade in such numbers “there is nothing they can do to stop it”.

Liberland lies on the Croatia-Serbia border, roughly halfway between Zagreb and Belgrade. A product of a border dispute between the two countries lasting a quarter of a century, it lies on a portion of territory which neither country is willing to claim.

“They made it no man’s land,” Mr Jedlicka says after giving a speech at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, to a receptive audience of bankers, free marketeers and young Conservatives.

In the year since Liberland was founded – on 13 April, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday – Croatia has set up police patrols and arrested dozens of people for attempting to access the unexpectedly hotly-disputed territory.

While he could not access what he sees as his own land, Mr Jedlicka was very busy, meeting sympathetic politicians around the world and setting up a website where people fed up with their own governments could register their interest in the venture – and donate to the cause.

Ever the optimist, Mr Jedlicka says: “It was a good thing that Croatia shut the border.

“We needed one more year to discover everything we have to do in order to take proper care of our own borders, to sign an agreement with a private security agency and also to visualise what we want to do.

“We kind of appreciate what Croatia is doing at this stage, which is simply protecting our border from others who would like this territory as well.”

That’s all about to change, however. This weekend Mr Liberland and his volunteer ministers held a conference to discuss Liberland’s future at a Croatian hotel just 5km from the border.

And 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.

“It’s going to be a big media event,” he says. “We would like to invite 5,000 people, with the best artists who support Liberland [attending], and we already have two or three major festival organisers in the area helping us.

“That could be the time when we actually take over control of this territory,” he says, with a clear sense of anticipation. “We are not pushing for it yet, but there is no way you can stop 5,000 people taking over control of Liberland.”

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