Tuesday, 6 December 2016

A European country that may not be real is angling for good relations with Donald Trump

Liberland eastern Europe

"There are many ties and shared ideas between Liberland and President Trump," the self-proclaimed president of Liberland, Vit Jedlicka, told The Washington Post this weekend.

Jedlicka declared sovereignty over a 3-square-mile spit of land on the Danube River in April 2015, taking advantage of a decades-long dispute between Croatia and Serbia over their border.

Jedlicka, a Czech citizen with libertarian leanings and a Euroskeptic, found out about the territory while reading about "terra nullius" — "nobody's land" in Latin — on Wikipedia.

While Jedlicka is optimist about relations between his country and the Trump administration, the nascent relationship faces a peculiar and significant hurdle: Neither the US nor any other country recognizes Liberland's existence.

Liberland eastern Europe

Jedlicka has links with anti-establishment political movements elsewhere in Europe, and he recently appointed Thomas Walls, a US citizen, as Liberland's foreign minister.

Jedlicka told Business Insider in April 2015 that he was against most forms of government assistance and that taxes in his country would be voluntary.

"We don’t really care that much, because the government will have very little expenditure," he said at the time. "We will have so much money that we will not know how to spend it."

Jedlicka also told The Post he plans to attend Trump's inauguration in January were in the works, but he wouldn't say precisely who his connection to the US president-elect was.

"We can say we have a strong supporter of Liberland who is a close adviser to one of Trump's already announced cabinet picks and somewhat famous in his own right," Walls told The Post. "Another member of the Liberland team has just published one of Trump's books in Europe."

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According to the founders of Liberland, the plot of land they chose remained unclaimed by Croatia, Serbia, or any other country when the border was drawn, and the nearest settlements are Zmajevac in Croatia and Backi Monostor in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia.

Croatia has dismissed it as a joke, and Serbia has detained Jedlicka and others while trying to enter the territory. According to The Post, only people with a "communist, Nazi or extremist past" are barred from citizenship, and hundreds of thousands — including about 12,000 Americans — have signed up.

Source: The Washington Post

Jedlicka ran for office several times in the Czech Republic. He won a minor regional seat but grew frustrated when he realized he would be unable to make any meaningful changes.

Source: Business Insider

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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