Graft, drug trafficking threaten Albania's chances of joining EU

Leading politicians have been repeatedly accused of being involved in the business
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Monday, October 4, 2021

Researcher Fatjona Mejdini states that the drug problem had its roots in 1991, when Albania went from an isolated communist dictatorship straight to capitalism. "They were tough times for everyone," Mejdini said. "And, as many people lost their state jobs, they turned to cannabis cultivation to sustain their families." Over the years, the government has turned a blind eye to the business — and "in some cases, we saw the collusion of state structures with people growing cannabis," Mejdini said. Criminal groups gained more influence. And, in the past 10 to 15 years, there has also been a new development: Networks have added cocaine to their business model. The networks and routes they had already built up in Europe were the perfect starting point.