With the Balkan Route operators able to cross the borders and maneuver unobstructed, the same porousness of the Balkan borders allow radical Islamists to use land routes to travel from the Middle East to Europe. They may even get an official passport en route.
In the arrest of several Balkan criminals in Spain in February 2012, each of them possessed official Croatian passport. Further investigations led directly to Croatia’s Ministry of Interior and a record of illegal sale of passports since 2006. This corruption has emboldened Balkan criminals to run an international criminal enterprise and the Balkan Cocaine Ring with direct access to the EU. No senior level official was held responsible in Croatia. Tomislav Karamarko who was at the helm of Croatia’s Ministry of Interior from 2008 to 2011, and formerly senior official in intelligence structures, is now the head of Croatia’s HDZ political party.
Today, organized crime coexists with political corruption in the Balkans, and what allows both to flourish is the absence of the rule of law, parlous state of the judiciaries and the significant money laundering facilitated by Western financial institutions, primarily Austria’s and Liechtenstein’s. Corrupt political establishments in the Balkans control the judiciary, intelligence, police, economy and the media, and have ties to organized crime.
The scale of political corruption in the countries lying on the Balkan Route can be seen from the extent of illicit financial outflows via crime, corruption and tax evasion that hemorrhaged the treasuries of these countries. Based on the report by Washington, DC, based Global Financial Integrity (GFI), $111.6 billion left the Balkans via illicit financial outflows during the period 2001-2010. Illicit financial outflows do not include cash transactions.
Why did NATO allow unreformed countries of Albania and Croatia into a club of « rule of law » nations in 2009 and Romania and Bulgaria in 2004? Despite Adriatic Institute’s warnings about Croatia, the EU closed its eyes to organized crime and colossal corruption in Croatia. Croatia prematurely became a NATO member and consequently an EU member without having the foundations of the rule of law and an independent judiciary.
In his book, « To End a War », the late Richard Holbrook, an author and US diplomat, who was involved in brokering the Balkan peace deal in 1995, clearly understood the realities on the ground when he stated:
« Yugoslavia’s tragedy was not foreordained. It was the product of bad, even criminal, political leaders who encouraged ethnic confrontation for personal, political, and financial gain. Rather than tackle the concrete problems of governance in post-Tito era, they led their people into war. »
Today, the same breed of « bad, even criminal political leaders » of the Balkans and money launderers in the West could care less about radical Islamism, Western values, the rule of law, liberty and freedom of speech as long as they can protect their amassed illicit enrichment and gain personal, political and financial gain.