STABILITY PACT COORDINATOR VIEWS ORGANIZED CRIME IN BULGARIA, SEEUROPE Financial_Times - 2003/9/5
Government structures in Southeast Europe have been infiltrated by organized crime but promising signals are coming that this is now in the past and that the administrative and judicial bodies are working or are beginning to work well, according to the Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe Erhard Busek.
Busek was among the speakers at an international conference on Shaping a Common Security Agenda For Southeast Europe: New Approaches and Shared Responsibilities, held Friday and Saturday (5-6 September) in Sofia. According to the speaker, organized crime has played a role in privatization and the redistribution of the national wealth in the countries of Southeastern Europe. Over 40 per cent of proceeds into the gross domestic product is presumed lost to corruption and crime syndicates, he said. This has affected adversely the image of the region and driven away foreign investors.
Busek identified several areas in which the Stability Pact works to curtail organized crime. The organization is involved in active dialogue with the regional representatives of law-enforcing structures dealing with organized crime. The Stability Pact wants to prove the need to fight crime syndicates because this fight is a step in building a civil society, drawing foreign investors and getting closer to the EU, the speaker said.
Among the participants in the Boyana conference are NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson, Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi, Defence Minister Nikolay Svinarov, Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov and six defence ministers of the Balkan region. The forum is organized by the Sofia Centre for the Study of Democracy and is held at the Boyana Residence in Sofia.