The Balkanization of Politics: Crime and Corruption in Albania
In the last few years, Albania, as well as other South Eastern and Mediterranean countries, have shown increased growth in corruption affecting every level of political power. Organized crime is becoming more sophisticated as it consolidates links between Albanian clans and the wider criminal world. According to the EU, the FBI and other police organization reports, while the situation concerning organized crime and corruption is grave throughout the Balkans, it is especially so in Albania, even as its authorities are continuing to implement talks for future membership in the EU. Efforts to combat this problem have thus far been insufficient. Authorities appear to not admit the full extent of criminal links among individuals across state offices, the police and politics. In many areas the traffickers work with the complicity of police and customs officials and enjoy the protection of high-ranking politicians. Corruption remains endemic and is destined to seriously undermine efforts for democratization of the society. This is a sort of vicious cycle: every institution in Albania is affected by organized crime which hampers democracy and economic development; any attempts to change the situation, like the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe seem to be ineffective. This paper aims to analyze the problem of corruption and illegality in the current period in Albania and to measure its infiltration, via local authorities, into every level of the political, economic and social life.
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