NEW: Vit Jedlicka, the first president of Liberland, tells CNN that the country will be formally founded on May 1
On April 13, Jedlicka declared an area between Croatia and Serbia "the Free Republic of Liberland"
Jedlicka says that almost 300,000 applications for citizenship have so far been received
It would have made Thomas Jefferson proud.
Established on the birthday of the American founding father, Liberland – the world’s newest micronation – is founded on a firm belief in liberty and noninterference from the powers-that-be.
A tiny, 7 square-kilometer parcel of land, marked on maps as Gornja Siga, its territory abuts the Danube on the border between Serbia and Croatia.
The victim of a border dispute between Serbia and Croatia, it is claimed by neither side – effectively a no-man’s land.
No one lives on this patch of land, which is heavily forested and contains only badly-maintained access roads and a run-down house, abandoned for decades.
This is where Euroskeptic Czech politician Vit Jedlicka stepped in.
On April 13 he planted his newly-designed yellow and black flag in the territory, declaring the area the Free Republic of Liberland – a tiny sliver of a country, bigger only than the Vatican and Monaco.
He tells CNN that the country will be formally founded on May 1 and is inviting, through the media, the world’s heads of state to attend a formal ceremony marking the presumptive nation’s birth.
He says that he will also invite 7,500 of the 300,000 applicants that applied to become citizens of Liberland to the ceremony, where he will grant them citizenship.
“I will grant citizenship if they can make it to the party,” he told CNN by phone. “It’s short notice but a good challenge, and also for the presidents (and other heads of state) if they can make it to the founding of our country.”
Jedlicka, an active member of the Czech Republic’s Party of Free Citizens, opposes excessive government interference.
He says his attempts to enact change in his home country led him to the political experiment that is Liberland.
“I would describe it as a global revolution. It’s just the beginning,” he tells CNN via Skype.
Founded on staunchly libertarian principles – its motto is “To live and let live” – its website describes its system of governance as being a “constitutional republic with elements of direct democracy.”
It will use a form of cryptocurrency – similar to Bitcoin – as its national currency, bypassing the need for a central bank and will, according to its constitution, keep government’s noses out of everything possible, from the banks to prostitution.
“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,” the world’s newest constitutional document states.
Financial regulation will be minimal, if at all present.
Jedlicka says almost 300,000 applications for citizenship have been received, about 20 of which have been accepted.
“Thousands of Americans, Swiss people. Also a lot of Arabic peoples who feel oppressed by the regimes there.”
He envisions, ultimately, a community of around 35,000 Liberlanders, not all of whom will be full-time residents.
He says he expects trouble from his neighbors, whose land he has effectively annexed.
“From Serbia, Croatia, we expect some trouble but we expect international laws will applied and any movement against us would be an attack on a sovereign nation, and we will offer nothing but passive resistance. For now, (though) we will make roads, docks.”
For its part, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement to CNN that stated that Liberland would not theoretically impinge upon its border, which is delineated by the Danube, but “the Ministry also considers this a frivolous act which needs no further comment.”
Croatia’s counterpart was similarly dismissive. “Virtual quips, however interesting they occasionally sound, remain what they are – virtual quips, and for them we have no official comment.”