Balkan Organised Crime Hotspots Pinpointed in Report
The new report published on Monday in Vienna by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime identifies places in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia where organised crime is flourishing.
The report, based on information compiled by local journalists and experts, says that "areas of weak governance and economic vulnerability, and zones located along transit routes have a higher probability of being hotspots for organised crime".
It argues that these hotspots are enabled by a political economy of crime that is deeply entrenched in most countries of the region.
"Ethnicity and borders do not prevent criminals from working together. But poor cooperation and weak governance are hindering criminal-justice responses within and between states," Mark Shaw, the director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, said in a press release.
Organised crime groups are involved in a wide range of illegal activities including the smuggling of people, drugs, weapons, cigarettes, cars and consumer goods, the report says.
"It is striking that most of the illicit activity in this region involves goods transiting to or from countries of the European Union," Shaw said.
"The EU has considerable leverage, a self-interest and a shared responsibility to disrupt these markets and reduce the vulnerability of the Western Balkans to organised crime," he added.
Albania: The report says country has important entry points for cocaine coming to Europe from Latin America with shipments arriving mainly by container to the ports of Durres, which are then distributed through Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia and smuggled towards Central Europe.
Albania has been the...