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Inside ‘Liberland,’ the place of no taxes

International

Liberland - Liberland, or the Free Republic of Liberland to give it its full title, is a would-be sovereign state founded April 13 by Vít Jedlicka and two fellow libertarians. Its total area of approximately seven square kilometres would make it the third smallest sovereign state in the world, after the Vatican and Monaco.

Where is Liberland?

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File photo. Picture: Darren Shaw.

It's sandwiched between Croatia and Serbia on the western bank of the Danube River. On some maps, this area is referred to as “Gornja Siga.”

So isn’t it part of Croatia or Serbia?

Not according to the founders. When the former Yugoslavia was split into new countries this small patch of land was forgotten about. Neither Croatia nor Serbia claimed it, making it a “terra nullius” or no man’s land.What is a micronation anyway?

A micronation is an entity that claims to be an independent nation, but is not officially recognised by world governments or major international organisations. Micronations are different from other kinds of social communes because they make a formal claim of sovereignty over a physical territory.Who is in charge?

The current president is Eurosceptic politician Jedlicka, 31, a member of the Czech Republic's Conservative Party of Free Citizens. Despite abstaining from Liberland’s first presidential election, he was still elected by the two other founding members, one of whom is his girlfriend, and now the country’s first lady.Why was Liberland founded?

According to the founders the objective is to build a country where honest people can prosper with minimal interference from a centralised government. “We need more countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Monaco, especially in Europe,” Jedlicka says. “We really needed another tax heaven, not tax haven.”So there won’t be any taxes?

All taxes will be voluntary, and the nation’s services - such as power, healthcare and waste disposal - will be run either by private enterprises or through crowdfunding campaigns.What is Liberland hoping to achieve?

Drumming up support

Quite simply to have Liberland recognised by already- established nations as a sovereign state, paving the way for what the founders are calling a “European Singapore.” To do this Jedlicka is appointing ambassadors from Liberland to countries all over the globe to drum up support for the idea.

Has it actually established embassies in other nations?

According to Jedlicka, Liberland has established embassies in several countries including the US, the UK, France and the Czech Republic. He plans to open embassies in “a hundred more countries by the end of the year.”

Is it even legal?

Liberland is attempting to use the homestead principle, which states that unclaimed and undeveloped land can be legally claimed by any group willing to develop it. But some legal experts have stated that even through the land may appear unclaimed, it is most probably already part of Serbia.Is anyone actually living in Liberland?

Not yet. Croatian border police are arresting anyone who sets foot in Liberland. However, this has not deterred members of the Liberland Settlers Association, which attempts to reach it on a daily basis and often clashes with local police in the process.

 What is the Liberland Settlement Association?

The Liberland Settlement Association(LSA) is an NGO based in Serbia, funded by the Liberland Settlement. It is made up primarily of volunteers who attempt to maintain an active presence on Liberland to help it become a recognised country.So what is the Liberland Settlement?

According to CEO Niklas Nikolassen, the LSC “is a group of liberty-minded investors who are funding the LSA.” The corporation, based in Switzerland, has a claim on 800 000 square miles of Liberland and is hoping that the actions of the LSA will help Liberland achieve recognition as a sovereign state and thus make the land valuable.

How many people will be able to live there if it’s recognised?

Liberland has already received almost 400 000 applications for citizenship, however only around 45 000 of these are considered to be serious. According to Jedlicka there will probably be a total of 30 000 to 40 000 Liberlandians, not all of whom will actually live in Liberland.

How are you supposed to run a country through crowd funding?

Liberland's government says it has already raised over $45 000 through crowdfunding on its website, where it takes donations in both regular currency and Bitcoin. This has paid for government offices in Praque and Serbia, a personal assistant for the president and his recent trips to the G-7 in Germany and Freedom Fest in the US.

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