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Comparing the Democratization of Intelligence Governance in East Central Europe and the Balkans

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Abstract

This article discusses the reform of intelligence governance in two sub-regional groupings of former communist states: East Central Europe and the Balkans. These two sub-regions are delineated according to the pace and nature of transformations that they have undergone since the collapse of communist rule and their relations with respect to the European Union, the key political and economic organization in Europe. A number of lessons are drawn from comparing experiences in the two sub-regions relating to democratic reform of the security apparatus, and in particular the intelligence sector. Significant factors in the consolidation of democratic governance of intelligence include the nature of precursor communist-era regimes and the legacies they created, whether armed conflict has occurred during the transition, the extent and character of external (especially EU) assistance, and the strength of media and civil society. These factors appear to have influenced how transitional regimes have sought to introduce institutional reforms to constrain the powers of those services and their susceptibility to arbitrary use. They also have influenced measures taken to redress abuses by intelligence services under the preceding communist regime and the legitimation of the post-authoritarian state.

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