Yesterday, as part of a session debating immigration, member of Croatian Parliament Ivan Pernar came forward to discuss and support Liberland. He later read a statement to Parliament from Liberland’s President Vít Jedlička. Here are Mr. Pernar’s remarks:
Thank you Chairman, today’s theme is “laws about foreigners”, and in my opinion it has many controversial parts and most disturbing is one particular case: the expulsion from the country of Mr. Vit Jedlicka.
Vit Jedlicka established a country named Liberland on the right side of Danube and this would be no problem but Croatia works against itself.
What is the problem? Our country’s border is so drawn that areas on the left side of Danube named Karapandža, Kendžija, Blaževica, Kolonđoš, Zmajevac, Zmajevac II, Poluostrvo, Zverinjak and Srebrenica belong to us. Those are areas that are on the Serbian side of Danube but due to the changed path of The Danube, we de facto do not have control over them but instead a neighboring country.
On the other side, on our side, is a place named Siga. It is an area that is disproportionately smaller than the areas on the Serbian side of Danube. Why am I speaking about this problem? Because this area, Siga, is one that Croatia does not see as its territory. Serbia does not claim it either.
So what has Croatia done? Croatia has arrested Vit Jedlička on that area and with this act de facto acknowledged and effectively demonstrated that it exercises law over this area and considers it as part of Croatia. With this act, Croatia helped and actually legalized status of those disputed areas on the left side of Danube that I mentioned and created damage to us.
Vit Jedlička is no ordinary immigrant. He did not come for simple reasons to this area Liberland. He came to create a country, third [smallest] in size in the world after Monaco and the Vatican and his goal was to develop tourism and bring people to that area because there are no people there at all.
However, due to border crossing, (look now for the paradox, you will laugh over this), Croatia considers (obviously, our police is there) this territory as part of Croatia respectively under our own jurisdiction. Likewise, when Mr. Jedlička enters from Croatia to this area he then gets arrested for (pay attention) an ILLEGAL crossing of the border.
At the same time, Croatia considers this area as its own when a man crosses from Croatia to this area. This is total paradox, absolutely absurd, and meanwhile thousands of illegal non-EU immigrants, unlike Jedlička who is from The Czech Republic, thousands of illegal immigrants without legal travel documents nor valid visas are permitted to cross Croatia, and many of them stay here. But Czech Vit Jedlička, who poses no threat, who painted Croatia in a positive context in worlds news, who made media attraction, he is processed and expelled!
Please note what the law about foreigners says: “Decision on expulsion” – Article 105 Paragraph 1: a decision can be brought if a foreigner resides illegally. The man was residing in the area of Siga which is not part of Croatia. He did not commit anything from paragraph 1.
Paragraph 2 – “If one crosses or tries to cross illegally the state border”. He did not do it and to the extent that he did, that we can consider disputable. Croatia does not claim this area, he has a right to access the area from the Danube as an international waterway. He can just land on the beach but Croatia arrests him and expels him from territory which is not part of our country. With this act, it recognizes the right for Serbia on areas on the left side of Danube.
I’m convinced that Vit Jedlička is a person against whom this measure of expulsion should be revoked, and that he should be allowed access to Siga from the Danube. In the event that we find his crossing to Siga from the Croatian side disputable, Croatia has to build a border crossing and then he will cross legally.
The problem is that there is no border crossing. If he wants to enter from the Croatian side to Liberland, he sadly cannot do it.
Mr. Pernar then read a statement from President Jedlička:
In closing I would like to read his letter addressed to Croatian parliament. It states:
Dear members of the Croatian parliament, ladies and gentlemen, first let me congratulate you on the 25th anniversary of international recognition of Croatia which you have celebrated on January 15th. It is a very significant event in Croatian history. It has taken a lot of effort to establish and build your country, one that I respect and admire.
I represent a peaceful and freedom loving nation of people who stand ready to cooperate with Croatia. Out of 400,000 applicants for citizenship, many are world-famous architects, artists, investors, entrepreneurs or diplomats. We believe that human freedom, limited government and free markets are the best elements to achieve a flourishing society. We are working on incorporating the best governance practices of the past with the decentralized governance technologies of the future. We are inspired by successful places like Hong Kong or Monaco which are constantly delivering significant value to their neighboring countries.
There are already 40000 of entrepreneurs who have expressed direct interest in making investments into our country. Our economists have calculated that the full development of Liberland could help boost economic growth in Croatia by one percent per year and dramatically reduce unemployment in the whole region.
Our nation was established on 13th April of 2015 on the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, but you can trace its origins way back in history. Starting with the Exodus of ancient times, we saw this manifest itself again as the American revolution and recently as Liberland. We have chosen an unclaimed piece of land formerly known as Gornja Siga in order to avoid any territorial disputes with other countries. We have set our borders outside the territory of Croatia as well as outside the Schengen area.
We highly appreciate that Croatia police are continuing to protect the borders and we stand ready to help them and work with them. We also stand ready to be reliable partners in Croatian foreign policy.
Liberland, as of today, has opened representative offices in more than 80 countries who aim to work in concert with Croatian diplomatic missions. Liberland is only seven square kilometers large making it third smallest country in the world after Vatican and Monaco.
We kindly ask you to respect our right to peacefully occupy this piece of land. We are ready to open up a dialogue between the Croatian and Liberland governments to define our proper border crossing in accordance with international laws.
[Comment from Mr. Pernar]
This is what I’m speaking about that is problematic. He is arrested for illegal border crossing but there is no crossing between Siga and Croatia!
[Resuming Vit Jedlička’s letter]
We stand ready to cooperate in the areas of illegal drug trafficking, extradition of criminals, terrorism, tax avoidance and other areas of your concern. We thank you for your patience as we are working hard to fully establish our institutions, including our legal and financial systems.
Croatians do have an important historical experience with freedom-oriented enclaves. I would like to remind you about just one example: the Republic of Ragusa in Dubrovnik and the great benefits that it brought to the whole region and the world. We would like to build up on that historical experience and in cooperation with Croatia become a shining example for the rest of the world.
One of the key aspects that ensured the existence of Ragusa was the high regard for liberty which was in the very motto of the Republic, “Liberty is not sold for all the gold in the world.” Our motto is “Live and Let Live.”
If you share our common belief in freedom, I invite you to join us and to come and celebrate the second year of Liberland’s existence on 13th of April 2017 in Liberland! Our highest intention is to cooperate with both regional and central Croatian governments on the economic growth of the territory, so as to ensure that Croatia can function in harmony with Liberland as a part of the neighborhood.
Mr. Pernar closed with a few additional remarks about Liberland:
Here my dear friends and colleagues, I have read to you a letter from Vit Jedlička. I appeal once again to revoke this decision to expel Vit Jedlička since he is not a person who damages Croatia in economical means or any other means, he does not endanger our territorial sovereignty and he’s not claiming rights to an area that Croatia considers as its own.
We must establish control on our borders regarding illegal immigrants, we had opportunity already for a couple of years to observe their crossings of our land.
Once again, freedom and self-determination rights are the highest values that exist and I think that Croatia establishes control by force on Gornja Siga and claims this part as Croatia and by this way legalizes the status of areas on left side of Danube which belongs to Croatia and which Serbia has occupied and holds under its control.
Instead of the expulsion of illegal residents, instead of establishing control over the whole territory, we, in an area that’s not ours, expel people like Vit Jedlička, a positive example in the whole migration story.
Full video of Mr. Pernar’s speech: