While the three mentioned actors do engage in hybrid activities in the region, other state and non-state actors have been seen as doing so as well. Serbian Orthodox Church, organized crime groups, far-right activist groups, etc., have also been perceived as hybrid actors, either working with state actors mentioned or in collusion with one another.
For instance, in Albania, one of the biggest threats posed by non-state actors is organized crime structures that gained footing during the country’s transition in the early 1990s. The way the structures function inside Albania itself is based on territorial control of different families engaged in such activities, while the activities abroad are heavily dependent on the increasing number of Albanian diaspora members moving out of Albania. In this sense, there is a consensus among the experts that organized crime in Albania has an impact on European security, as well as European organized crime in general, and will no doubt impact the EU member states voting on the Albanian integration process in the future.
Additionally, threats by religious extremism were seen as a potential threat in almost the entire region. The activities of Salafi groups in mostly rural areas of the region were seen as hybrid threats to institutional and democratic development in all of the countries in the region. However, most of the countries in the region are well equipped with the capacities needed in order to work on these challenges, including the integration and socialization efforts in the context of returnees from the wars in Syria and Iraq. More so, activities of far-right groups were noted for their activities in cohesion with state actors engaged in hybrid activities. Organizations, mostly local ones, like Miholjski zbor in Montenegro, or Srpska Čast or the Četniks operating in Serbia, north of Kosovo, and BiH entity Republika Srpska, as well as Montenegro, all engage in activities backed and/ or financed either by Serbia or directly from Russia. Pro-Serbian or pro-Russia organizations active in the region often pose as humanitarian aid organizations, which make up the bulk of their activities, but their symbols, the leaders and their official policies would often include messages of Pan-Slavism, far-right nationalism, pro-Russian sentiments, images of Vladimir Putin, etc.
These organizations would often exhibit direct links to Moscow or Belgrade and, in some cases, be rooted in Russian tradition, like the activities of the Balkan Cossack Army, founded in Kotor in 2016, whose members are veterans of Russian wars over the last twenty years. Furthermore, the activities of far-right groups spreading anti-Western narratives in the region were found to be backed by the Serbian Orthodox Church and would sometimes use official Church channels for their activities.
Outside of these organizations, threats to the Western Balkan countries that were perceived as hybrid were also cyber threats, disinformation in general, as well as state-backed non-state actors like the Union of Turkish NGOs in North Macedonia or football hooligans in Serbia