Corruption and organised crime - Part 2

posted by julia on 2006/01/13 20:37

[ Corruption and organised crime ]

As is widely known, the presence of the international community in Kosovo has ambivalous results on organised crime.

On the one hand, fighting organised crime has been declared one of the priorities to

prepare Kosovo for EU integration. The CARDS budget for Justice and Home Affairs projects is

constantly rising, and for 2006, it will be particularly high for Kosovo. Important

legislation has been passed, like for example the recent law regulating the operation of

private gas stations. Kosovo is the part of the Balkans with the highest number of gas

stations in proportion to the population, size, and number of vehicles. Gas/oil trade is one

of the main illegal businesses in Kosovo, in which a lot of prominent politicians are said to

be involved. The new law will force the gas stations to register with the Ministry of Trade

and Industry - if now, they will be closed down in February 2006.

On the other hand, the presence of the international community contributes to the

flourishing of prostitution and trafficking of women (as Amnesty International pointed out in

a report published in 2004). Then, the presence of KFOR duty free shops plays an important role in

cigarette smuggling, especially since the tax on cigarettes was increased. In 2005, Kosovo

imported half of the amount of cigarettes it used to import in the previous years, which

meant a loss in customs revenus of at least 50 million euros (cf. ECIKS,


According to Orsalia Kalantzopoulos, co-author of an EU/World Bank study on the potentials

for economic development in Kosovo, "if Kosovo uses properly its many mineral resources

[especially its resources in lignite] and invest those income in education and health, then

Kosovo would be sustainable and a developed country and provide good living conditions for

its citizens" (quoted by ECIKS, 9.1.2006). We should add another "if": if there was less corruption, smuggling, and organised crime...



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All photos by the Photo Arts Collective of Kosovo. First photo by Burim Myftiu (Swimming olympiade in Klina). Second photo by Mimoza. Third photo by Dashmir Izairi.
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