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        • Over the past two decades there has been a trend of increasing budgets for security actors. Thus, relative to their budgets in 2016, the 2019 budgets of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior have seen increases of around 70 and 40 percent, respectively. Over the same period the budget of the BIA has also increased by nearly 40 percent.

           

           

          The problem here is that the public, journalists and National Assembly deputies do not know what these funds will be spent on.

          In addition to this sudden increase in spending on security sector actors the authorities have decided to build housing in cities across Serbia that armed forces, security service and police personnel can purchase at significantly reduced rates. Of course, the question that promptly arises is why apartments at such low prices are intended for and offered only to security services, military and police personnel and not to government employees in other sectors whose work more immediately impacts the lives and health of ordinary citizens. The reasons for the preferential treatment for security forces personnel could not even be discussed publically because, according to the Law’s proponent, the draft bill itself contains information of the interests of the Republic of Serbia that could potentially pose a threat to national or public security or for security and intelligence affairs were they to be revealed.

           

          Two further facts indicate that the increased budgets of security services and the construction of low-cost housing for their personnel are indeed part of a “party-led project”. Firstly, both approaches resulted from decisions reached independently by the Defence Minister, the BIA director, and the Minister of the Interior. The decision was made at liberty the leaders of the security apparatus who were, what is more, members and founders of the SNS. These policies later became part of the ruling party’s self-promotion.

           

          The analysis is part of a larger body of work dealing with the flows and mechanisms of the capture of security services in Serbia by political authorities, from 2006 to the present, which will be published by the end of 2019. The paper will describe how the (re)arrangement of the security-intelligence sector after the restoration of Serbia's independence created the preconditions for complete capture of security services. Particular attention will also be paid to legal deficiencies that seemed less important at the time, but later proved to be important in the political instrumentalization of the security-intelligence sector. It will also analyse the way in which the ruling party has collapsed the oversight and control mechanisms of the security services, removing obstacles to their full instrumentalization. It will also show how the ruling party uses the security-intelligence sector for personal and party purposes, including for dealing with critics of the government, through concrete examples.

           

           

           

        • Tags: security services
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