After 650,000 Migrants, Croatia Refuses Entry to Legal EU Citizen and Liberland President Vit Jedlicka

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After Croatia’s humane response to allow more than 650,000 refugees and migrants to pass through its borders, a legal EU citizen with valid passport is denied entry on April 15, 2016. 

The irony could not be stronger… 

After more than 650,000 migrants and refugees, many without papers, pass through Croatia, a legal EU citizen and self-proclaimed president of a country whose motto is ‘Live and Let Live’ is denied entry to Croatia, despite having a valid passport. An inspirational initiative which has captured the imagination of people all over the world and attracted more than half a million applications for citizenship from every corner of the globe meets the democratic process of the newest member of the European Union. 

As previously reported on TCN, the self-proclaimed state of Liberland is holding an international conference to coincide with its first anniversary of existence. Located on the left bank of the Danube river between Serbia and Croatia, the tiny 7km2 land was claimed by Czech national Vit Jedicka in April last year under the process of ‘terra nullius’, whereby land which is not claimed by any country can be claimed by a third party. 

While it seems surprising, especially after recent history, that there might be unclaimed land after the recent conflict in the region, the explanation is quite simple. The natural border between the two countries is the international waterway of the River Danube. Serbia lies to the right, Croatia to the left – a natural solution. 


The catastar map, which dates back to the 19th century, shows a different map when the Danube flowed differently. On the catastar map, there is more land on the right-hand side which Croatia could claim, if this map was accepted. On the left, a small, marshy 7km2 marchy plot. Serbia has said that it has no territorial claims to the left of the river, while Croatia wants to go with the 19th century map, thereby gaining more land on the right side of the river. 

Which leaves 7km2 of unclaimed territory…

A year ago, Czech and EU citizen Vit Jedlicka claimed the land as his own country, which he named Liberland. The Serbian Foreign Ministry reacted by saying they had no interest in the land on the left of the river. Croatia’s reaction was rather spectacular – they arrested and briefly detained Jedlicka on a subsequent visit for leaving Croatia illegally. Rather than being upset at his arrest, the president thanked his captors for confirming an important fact in his quest for statehood – official confirmation of the border between Liberland and Croatia. With no interest from either Croatia or Serbia in the small plot of land, President Jedlicka’s case was getting stronger. 

Croatia recently won international acclaim for the humane way in which it reacted to the refugee crisis, with more than 650,000 refugees and migrants passing through the country on the way to end destinations such as Sweden and Germany. So it is somewhat ironic that after such open borders, a free citizen of the European Union with a valid passport was prevented from entering Croatia from Hungary two days ago, as was the case with Vit Jedlicka. 

Speaking from an undisclosed location on the Croatian side of the Liberland border, TCN talked to the Liberland President – a full interview will appear shortly. TCN also contacted the Ministry of the Interior to ask why an EU citizen with legal papers was prevented from entering the country. 

Vlatka Segecic from the Ministry of the Interior explained that the ministry has a policy not to comment on individual cases, and while in theory an EU citizen with a valid passport should be allowed to enter Croatia without hindrance, sometimes there were special reasons and security concerns to prevent entry. 

The Liberland President was not the only one to experience problems on Croatia’s borders. Several journalists – there is media representation from France, UK, America and several other EU countries – reported harassment as they tried to enter the country.  

The irony could not be stonger, or the message from Croatia more stark. With a popular satirical television show cancelled, the Ministry of Culture advising journalists to be careful what they write in the wake of popular writer Ante Tomic being assaulted in Split and men in black shirts exercising their democratic right on the main square in Zagreb in the Bright New Dawn of Croatia, it is perhaps understable that a Czech citizen was banned from entry into Croatia – too much democracy and free thinking on the borders of the modern Croatia could upset the status quo. 


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