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'Only drugs can withstand inflation', Financial Times takes Albania as an example
Want inflation protection? Try drugs. Even the historically high inflation rates affecting Europe's formal economy will not necessarily lead to higher prices for illegal substances such as MDMA, cocaine and heroin.
This is according to Teodora Groshkova , the lead scientific analyst at the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, who says that prices for most drugs "largely remain stable".
It is not entirely clear how criminal organizations have so far managed to avoid inflationary pressures. Groshkova suggests that supply chains in Europe have become highly efficient as gangs have professionalised.
Horizontal integration may also be a factor. An analysis by the EU drug agency and Europol describes how an Albanian-speaking gang recently took the unusual step of taking control of the importation and distribution of cocaine. Importers normally work separately from wholesalers and street traders.
"Using sophisticated means of encrypted communication, the head of the organization, based in Ecuador, negotiated directly with South American drug cartels, organized large shipments of cocaine to major European ports and, with the help of associates based in Italy , the Netherlands and Albania, also organized distribution to consumers throughout Europe.
The cocaine was smuggled across European borders hidden in vehicles equipped with hidden compartments. Criminals laundered their proceeds using an alternative underground remittance system of Chinese origin known as the fei ch'ien system, similar to the hawala transfer system.
Cartel bosses seem to have read their Ricardo. Globalization - supposedly in retreat elsewhere - is alive and kicking when it comes to illegal drugs."
It may also be that criminal organizations have such significant profit margins that they are able to "absorb inflationary shocks ," says Groshkova.
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The Prime Minister, Edi Rama, was received by his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, while they are also holding a joint conference.