There are two smiling European-looking 30-somethings waiting to welcome you to the new website, Liberland.org, while a hopeful-sounding logo proclaims, “Live and let live.”
Formerly referred to as Gornja Siga, the seven square-kilometre state (slightly bigger than the Vatican and Monaco) came into existence following a border dispute between Croatia and Serbia. The forgotten territory was unclaimed by both Croatia and Serbia, which is why the country has been reportedly founded according to international law.
Obtaining citizenship is just one click away. Candidates fill out an application online and self-appointed president, Vít Jedlička, stated earlier on his Facebook page that the website has already received 160,000 citizenship requests. Yet you’re left wondering, how many people can a country the size of a Cairene district actually host?
The fledgling tax-free country announced with its inauguration, “The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments.” No diplomatic statements have been declared by either Croatia or Serbia in response.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Aaty stated on Sunday that the ministry of Foreign Ministry warns citizens against “falling victims” to the wiles of human traffickers, who aim to steal their money under the false pretences of sending them abroad.
However, the warning has fallen short — dozens of citizens from Arab states have already filed applications for asylum there. On Sunday, privately owned newspaper Al-Watan published requests sent by Egyptian, Iraqi and Sudanese citizens requesting asylum in the new state of Liberland.
Jedlička claimed that some of the applicants have already made plans to relocate to the new “promise land,” adding that Liberland would welcome around 5,000 people by the end of the week. However, according to its website, the newborn country does not accept people with a “communist, nazi or other extremist past.”
In 1719, Liechtenstein, was declared a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire — the 160 kilometre-squared state, bordering Switzerland and Austria, would later survive both world wars. Currently it is one of the richest worldwide, while the Prince of Liechtenstein is the world’s sixth wealthiest monarch with an estimated wealth of US$5 billion. Liberland’s recently appointed president, speaking in an interview with Time magazine last week, hopes that the new state could be a second Liechtenstein.
Paying taxes is optional in Liberland and no military service is expected of young citizens. But for now, the country has no airport, post office or military base, but it does have a Facebook account that collected around 28,000 likes in the last few days.