Croatia’s newest neighbour, the self-proclaimed Liberland – a progress update from the president.
It is a project that has caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. A self-proclaimed new country in the heart of Europe in the 21st century, on a small piece on land on the Danube between Croatia and Serbia.
The President of Liberland, Vit Jedlicka, who was interviewed by Total Croatia News a few weeks ago, has been a tireless campaigner for his new country, speaking to media all over the world. In his latest interview, with Tengri News from Kazaskstan on December 12, 2015, he gives a comprehensive update on the progress of the Liberland project (in English below):
1. How many applications for citizenship have you received? How many of them are from Kazakhstan?
There are now 386916 people registered on our website, out of which 75315 are eligible for citizenship. We have registered 151 people from Kazakhstan in that group.
2. How many people have you chosen to be citizens? How did you select them? Do those people have passports of Liberland?
So far we have only 130 citizens. Those were the people that have so far significantly helped the project and were able to travel to Liberland to get citizenship papers. Now that the process is transparent people collect our new currency called merits for their donations and work for the project. When they collect 10000 merits they will receive citizenship.
3. What’s going on with the territory of the Liberland now? Has anyone already relocated there? Do you have problems with Serbian and Croatian officials?
Serbian politicians and police have been supportive from the very beginning. That is crucial for us as this territory belonged to Serbia some 24 years ago. They have abandoned it and Croatia never claimed it after. Croatia is also supportive in the sense that they are protecting our borders now with more than 50 policemen, and they clearly recognize there is a borderline between our countries. They have unlawfully arrested a number of our settlers, but we are encouraging making progress now in the courts. We will continue our settlement efforts in early spring and hope more countries will recognize our continued existence.
4. How many countries have recognized Liberland?
We are de facto recognized by Serbia which directly stated that our “new state is not formed on the territory of Serbia”. This is most important for us at this stage. In Croatia there is a change of power structure after the elections, so we are hoping to for extraordinary relations with the new Croatian government. We plan to get de jure recognition by important members of the international community on 1st of May.
5. Does Liberland have a government? Who are the Ministers, and what exactly do they do?
The decision making process is now done by myself as president, and two vice-presidents, one from Paris and one from New York. They are the best people I found for the project and they are strategically located. I will introduce them at our diplomatic event on 18th of December in Prague. Apart from that we have 4 ministers – justice, foreign, interior, finance. The role of our government is strictly limited to these areas by our constitution.
6. Does Liberland have a budget?
Yes, our budget for next year is two million dollars. It consist of voluntary donations by our citizens and some institutional funders.
7. What is the base of Liberland’s economy?
Most of the people associated with Liberland work in banking, crypto currencies, IT, high-tech, pharmaceutical or education. We have for example 800 lawyers or 1200 architects that have applied for citizenship.
8. What are your plans for 2016?
One of the most important events that starts next year is the architectural competition designliberland.splashthat.com. We have some renowned architects that are already taking part in this. For example Patric Schumacher, a partner at Zaha Hadid. Another big event will be the celebration of one year of existence in Liberland. We would like to celebrate it by having the first building built. There will be number of conferences and music festival going on during the summer.