Douwe Osinga's Blog: The European Free State Project

Thursday, March 18, 2004

In the United States, the land of the free, a group of libertarians has decided that there is no such thing as too much freedom.  They’ve set up a free state project. Their plan: take over one state (New Hampshire) and get of all redundant laws. Such a thing seems unlikely to succeed in the US and completely impossible in Europe, where the state is mightier and more controlling. Or so it would seem. May be Europe offers the best options for a free state project.

European governments are much more intrusive than the American Federal Government in general, but if you compare the European Union with the American Federal Government, you get a completely different picture. In the US, 25% of GNP is spent by the central government. The EU spends about 1%. The European Law might be complicated, but is still simpler than the American Law. European countries spent of course much more than American States and their laws are even more complicated.

But what if you could start a European country without all that? Just have the European Law, 1% federal taxes and that’s it. Also, the European Union doesn’t seem to be that critical when it comes to new members. Respect for the law, a functioning market economy, respect for European Values, all things liberty-loving people can live with. The only thing we need is a available part of Europe.

Kaliningrad springs to mind. It is now part of Russia, but not connected to the rest of the country. It used to be German (Immanual Kant lived here) and after Poland and the Baltics had joined the EU, it will be surrounded by the Union. Putin will need to be bought off, of course and the recent history of Kaliningrad probably doesn’t make them the most suitable inhabitants for a free state.

An alternative is new land. The Dutch have a great tradition of making land out of sea and there is still one rather big piece of water available: the Markerwaard. On older maps you see this area marked as a planned polder, but the Dutch government has decided not to go through with the plan (while at the same time insisting that the Netherlands are full). The Markerwaard would be the ideal location for a European Free State. So how does a country secede that doesn’t exist yet?