Welcome to Liberland: The Tax-Free Startup State Between Croatia and Serbia

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 2:11 PM

Welcome to the Free Republic of Liberland. This micro-nation is attempting to set up itself on a tiny spit of unclaimed land just three miles squared on the banks of the River Danube between Croatia and Serbia.

Welcome to Liberland: The Tax-Free Startup State Between Croatia and Serbia

BEZDAN, Serbia — As the Panama Papers shed light on the secretive world of offshore tax havens, there are plans to create a startup state in Eastern Europe where residents would pay number tax at all.

Welcome to the Free Republic of Liberland.

This micro-nation is attempting to set up itself on a tiny spit of unclaimed land just three miles squared on the banks of the River Danube between Croatia and Serbia.

Its founders aim to create a state where "the economy and the government are separated" and people can live without government interference, Liberland'south self-proclaimed president Vit Jedlicka told NBC News.

But while this free-market enclave may seem love a libertarian utopia to some, neither Jedlicka nor the 400.000 people who have registered for citizenship on the country'south official Facebook page can actually travel to their own turf.

The reason it's unclaimed is because it lies at the middle of a border dispute between Croatia and Serbia, meaning colonization is currently not an option. It's "a de facto number man'south land," according to Jedlicka, a 32-year-old former financial analyst from the Czech Republic.

Nevertheless, Jedlicka believes Liberland will one day be somewhere "where righteous people can prosper with minimal state regulations and without state-imposed taxes."

The idea is to introduce voluntary taxes and crowdfunding for government projects — all below the motto "To Live and Let Live." Liberland plans to proposal virtual money called Merits — similar to the Bitcoin crypto-currency — as an official payment system, but other genuine currencies will also be accepted.

"We are revolutionizing how countries are created and wish to indicate the world that we can do things differently," Jedlicka added.

He announced Liberland'south existence one year ago Saturday — on Thomas Jefferson'south birthday.

Liberland executive were this weekend hosting a conference in Croatia to promote their country as a model for the future and to discuss with experts "the potential economic power that Liberland can set up within the Balkan region."

It'll also display the results of a recent contest about what this proto-state might see like.

Over all, executive wish to indicate that Liberland "is a genuine nation, a genuine country," Jedlicka said.

The main driver behind the idea is a dissatisfaction with the way things are running in other countries.

"I am ill and tired of any nonsense bureaucracy in our country, the high taxes and the many regulations," said 23-year elderly Nevin Ristic, the official Liberland representative in Serbia. "In my opinion, Liberland could and should be a grand escape reel for those people who are tired of systems that are not functioning."

Love Ristic in Serbia, Liberland has already appointed some seventy representatives in more than sixty countries. It's also drafted its own laws and a lengthy constitution.

Jedlicka says that ten countries "are friendly to us" and hopes to set up relations with them in the close future.

However, referring to the Montevideo Conference on the Rights and Duties of States of one thousand nine hundred thirty-three, he argues a nation doesn't require international recognition to attain legitimacy.

"The state has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to allow for its conservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit," according to the treaty.

Meanwhile, Liberland is in the process of creating official passports and producing forms for birth certificates, having granted honorary citizenship to two hundred people.

It also received citizenship applications from Syrian migrants, thousands of whom crossed the Serbian border into Hungary only fifty miles from Liberland'south designated territory. "But we were quite disappointed that none of the refugees passed by got in contact with us," Jedlicka said.

Below international agreements, three criteria necessity to be fulfilled for the acceptance of a new state, according to experts.

"The establishment of a state authority, independent constitutive people and a state territory, where people can live are required," said Christian Walter, a Prof for law of nations at the Ludwig-Maximillian-University in Munich. "If Liberland doesn't have an official territory, it'd not be considered a state."

While clearly bold, Liberland isn't the first attempt at establishing a micro-nation.

Fifty years ago, a British family occupied a rusting, decommissioned World War II fortress, barely larger than a tennis court, six miles off the English coast, and declared it the "Principality of Sealand."

The claim has never been recognized by Britain or any other government, but for as small as $42, supporters of the sovereign state can become a lord, baron or baroness of Sealand.

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