Co-operation in international law enforcement cannot be separated from the political and economic environment in which it operates. The countries of south-east Europe have always had a distinct personality and been blighted by a volatile history. However, out of the instability that followed the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the region has now emerged with an even stronger regional identity, not only in terms of trade and economics, but also in terms of law enforcement challenges and opportunities.