IBNA Special Report
Tirana, October 29, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
Albanian authorities are making legal efforts to stop the entry of luxury cars into the country, cars which are mainly stolen in Europe.
Parliamentary committees have approved the bill “For the adherence of the Republic of Albania in the EUCARIS Treaty”. This bill aims at making Albania part of the EUropean CAR and driving license Information System (EUCARIS).
The system is not a data base, but a mechanism of exchange that links the registers of vehicles and car drivers of the respective authorities.
By making Albania part of the EUCARIS Treaty, authorities are hoping to put an end to the traffic of stolen cars in the country. The entry of Albania in this system will also facilitate the discovery of different crimes committed by car drivers.
The scope of the EUropean CAR and driving license Information System is to insure the accuracy and safety of central registers for cars and driving licenses. It also helps in preventing, investigating and prosecuting offenses from individual states in the domain of driving licenses, vehicle registration and other frauds and crimes committed in relation to vehicles.
This system also enables a quick exchange of information for the registration of vehicles that circulate in EU countries and EU partner countries, in line with international regulations.
In the framework of this system, central authorities of registration must allow each other to use a selected part of the data held in the central registers of vehicles and driving licenses of the sides.
Albania becomes part of the EUCARIS Treaty by depositing the adherence instrument to the government of the Grand Dukedom of Luxembourg. The members of this treaty are countries such as: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Holland, Britain, Norway, Finland, France, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Absurd luxury, but will it ever end?
Since the start of the ‘90s, two contradictory phenomena occurred in Albania. While the country had no more than a few hundreds of cars, where none of them was private, hundreds of thousands cars started to swarm in mainly from Italy, Greece and Germany. The main feature of this wave didn’t have to do with the social category or the level of incomes of those who brought these cars. Almost everyone was poor, but what was important for them to have was “dexterity” and “courage”. Many Albanians bought old cars at prices amounting to one thousand or two thousand USD.
Alongside them, the country also started to see the entry of the latest cars, often off series. Their prices in EU markets amounted to as much as 350 thousand Euros. In Albania, they used to arrive at a modest cost, because they were stolen and their only expense was transport and customs.
This way, the market of stolen luxury cars started to flourish in Albania. But, there’s a problem: They cannot move in EU countries.
Buyers were made clear on this and they mainly consisted on rich people such as judges, prosecutors, journalists, analysts, politicians and MPs and of course, many business people.
A car that cost 200 thousand Euros, could be bought at only 20 thousand Euros.
This phenomenon continues even today, but at a more moderate level. Those people who steal cars seem to have moderated. If in the ‘90s, cars were stolen for personal use, this later turned into a trade. The author of this article has often read police reports that talk about Albanian citizens, mainly young people, who in a few years, had stolen tens of luxury cars in Italy and Germany.
In order to secure the survival of these cars in Albania, it was often sufficient to move them within the country and in the non EU neighboring countries.
In other cases, the serial numbers and the number of the chassis are rigged in order to lose any trace of the theft.
Given that this is a lucrative business that circulates millions of Euros every year, experts are skeptic that this phenomenon can be entirely eradicated. The fact that people who buy these cars are happy to use them within the country and the rigging of the chassis, makes the process of their discovery a difficult one.
Nevertheless, to make the job of thieves a little harder, is not a bad thing. /ibna/
On the photo: Cars recently seized by Albanian police