Verdi: the “sovereign state” on the disputed border between Croatia and Serbia | UK News
Daniel Jackson never wanted to rule a country.
But a chance research session with friends launched him on a journey of epic proportions.
The group had read into the border dispute between Croatia and Serbia, a disagreement that left “bags” up and down the Danube.
Daniel decided to explore land ownership opportunities in the region with the end goal of doing “something positive but unique in the world”.
He soon found an “unclaimed” strip of land and on May 30, 2019 he christened it the Free Republic of Verdis – Verdis for short.
On some maps, especially local ones, the area is known as the pocket 3 of the Croatian-Serbian border dispute.
Daniel describes the country as a sovereign state.
The 18-year-old holds the office of interim president within the Verdi government has its own website.
He told Metro.co.uk: “It may seem crazy to some, but over the past year we’ve had a truly amazing process.
“We received applications [to become citizens] by many people in the UK and across Europe.
“Some people were a bit suspicious at first or just curious, but overall the reception was really good.”
Daniel says he is in position to own the area as neither Croatia nor Serbia claimed it – as they wanted bigger pockets on the opposite side of the Danube.
He said: “This enabled Verdis to claim the land and become the first claimant to lay claim to it under international law – terra nullius – in over 25 years.”
The 18-year-old has spent the last two years building Verdis’ reputation and says he now has support from locals in nearby towns like Aljmaš.
Daniel, who lives in Dover, has made several trips to see Verdis, taking care to keep an eye out for mines or unexploded ordnance left behind from the Yugoslav wars.
He travels by boat to reach the country, which is currently devoid of inhabitants and infrastructure.
Including the waters, Verdis reaches a size of 0.501 km2, slightly larger than Vatican City.
Daniel and the government of the Free Republic of Verdis plan construction “once sufficient funding, international recognition, and planning are achieved.”
He added: “Some of our key milestones and achievements have been expanding outreach with the international community, establishing a fully functioning government, the ability to make frequent trips to the land claim, and other achievements in reconciling ethnic groups in the Proximity of the region to tensions from the former Yugoslav wars.
“Some of our long-term goals are to have permanent settlers on the land claim – which we’re very close to.
“We want to be internationally recognized with a growing and stable economy.
“We want to help reconcile ethnic groups near the region, boost tourism for the neighboring Croatian region of Slavonia and the Serbian autonomous province of Vojvodina, and become as environmentally conscious as possible in the hope that other sovereign states will follow our example.” Goals.’
Going forward, Daniel hopes his government’s decisions could help inspire larger nations and inspire others.
Verdis is close to another entity on the Danube known as the Free Republic of Liberland.
The territory is roughly the size of Gibraltar.
Liberland has made headlines several times in the past, with murmurs about how serious owner Vit Jedlicka is about the venture.
But Daniel says Verdis has very different goals than its neighboring state.
He added: “We communicate with Liberland but we have very different views.”
For Daniel, he is determined to make it clear that Verdis is no hoax.
It costs $16 to apply to Verdis, with all proceeds going to “nation building.”
The website states: “Due to the large number of applicants, we charge a small processing fee for the maintenance of our systems.
“All proceeds go to the Verdis government to help build the nation.”
The 18-year-old, originally from Melbourne, has encouraged anyone interested in Verdi to consider membership or to get in touch if he can make a difference for the headland’s future.
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