When it came to moving my kit here from London I saved £3k from the price quoted by a household name removal firm with a traditional pantechnicon by using instead a reputable Liverpool haulage contractor, with insurance from a specialist marine and freight broker and doing all the packing myself. The actual transport was sub-contracted to a Serbian firm with a couple of long-range 7.5 tonners. The lads were fine - Serbian and Montenegran with EU travel documents, too young for the last Balkans war but old enough to have done their military service. Even a tattoo of the rune used by an SS Balkans unit glimpsed briefly on one forearm didn't detract from the lads being helpful and friendly. We talked. I was genuinely outraged when they told me quite truthfully that their whack for the 3-day job was €35 a day each. No, no, they said; it was fine. Driving work at home earned them no more than €20 a day, while unemployed veterans only got €40 a week. You'll be assured to know I tipped them well - though they weren't looking for it.
Zastava Arms in old Yugoslavia made knock-off copies of the AK47. Hundreds of thousands. Some estimates even put the number as equal to the population figure. Both sides used them in the civil war, as well as Albanian and Bulgarian AK47s. Millions of rounds of ammo still flooded the region when peace came; after peace, there was an initial phase in which the old weapons were still kept in cupboards at home in case it kicked-off again. More recently as peace is more assured and Bosniak Muslims, Bosnians and Serbians even serve together in an integrated defence force, and as poverty is hitting the region hard, the attraction of making a quick €400 from selling dad's old AK47 is proving hard to resist.
And so these old Balkans weapons found their way to Paris and to the Bataclan massacre; a Zastava AK47 from 1981, a Chinese Norinco AK47 from Albania also used in the war and a 1985 LMG from Bulgaria. It is reported that when the Albanians raided their military arsenals in 1997 they looted 550,000 automatic weapons and 1.5 billion rounds of ammo. Arsenals in Romania held a surplus of 1.5m AK47s last time they counted them - but with a black market value of £465m, you can be sure they are leaking out of the door.
You can also be sure that weapons now being recovered in Paris and Brussels will include those from such places. And traffic from or through the Balkans to not only the Shengen region but the UK - coaches, buses, freight wagons, private cars and vans - being impossible to search, you can be sure that Balkans arms are now well-distributed throughout Europe.
The EU has dismantled the borders, but has put nothing in their place to prevent arms, drugs or Islamist terrorists from flooding the continent. Combine such EU failure with the natural incompetence of the Belgian authorities, with police and security services that are not fit for purpose, and a city (Brussels) with a Muslim population of 25% and mosques whose imams are supplied by Saudi Arabia and any surprise at last week's events should only be that it took the Islamists so long.