There are indications that Turkey’s AKP is utilising the private security sector to reinforce their influence over state security institutions. The desire to exert influence throughout Turkey’s security apparatus is ostensibly driven by the emerging paranoia that the AKP is being faced with internal challengers. Manipulating private security to monitor and/or control state security structures will erode democratic accountability.
Although the current economic standing of Belgrade’s Airport is good, the Vučić government is - yet again - close to endangering one of the most important state assets. Previous regional examples reveal how governments, for political purposes, have privatised state assets to the detriment of public coffers, and the case of Belgrade Airport could easily follow this path.
The Bulgarian media sector appears to be controlled by individuals with strong links to political parties and the ruling elite, as is the case with Delyan Peevski. Central to influencing political and public opinion, the media sector has become an important tool through which elements of the status quo have sought to hide corruption, and other questionable practices that continue to undermine Bulgaria.
Serbia’s telecommunications sector is ripe for change, with new opportunities emerging. Navigating the competitive market, however, remains imperative for any new venture. Although most of the sector can be treated as competitive, there remains the problem of state-owned MTS: an entity whose development has been curtailed as a result of undue and opaque political influence.
Bulgaria’s energy sector is currently in the midst of a power struggle, with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov seeking to diminish the influence of independent businessmen with energy interests. One of the main consequences of this is that the sector is becoming increasingly politicised. Despite the involvement of international actors (Russia-EU), trends suggest that the sector will ultimately be shaped by internal power dynamics.
The Romanian maritime sector is characterised by its lack of an efficient and transparent legal framework, and the absence of public bodies to oversee and regulate who benefits from the sector. These legal gaps have been used by a group of Romanian Members of Parliament, ostensibly with the view to secure decision-making powers over the future development (and associated privatisation) of this sector.
Serbia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector has been growing, and showing resilience in the face of economic crisis. Will the government’s newly found interest in this sector enhance opportunities, or potentially stymie growth? This depends on whether Belgrade shows support by initiating necessary reforms, or looks to exert undue influence by exposing it to an informal power play.
The energy sector in the TRNC is in need of investment, particularly to modernise its infrastructure. While the current government is losing political legitimacy, new political actors with strong ties to Ankara are likely to take control. If this happens, there is a high probability that they will increase their dealing with Turkey, potentially to the detriment of the TRNC’s own needs.
The privatisation of Bulgaria’s maritime sector was conducted in such a way that it enabled the country’s political elite to exert significant influence over what private actors were allowed to participate in privatisation tenders. A relatively opaque / ambiguous legal framework allegedly opened the doors to questionable dealings between the political and commercial elite, in exchange for state assets.
Elements of Romania’s media sector are actively being leveraged in the hands of an opaque network of state officials, businessmen, and secret services as an informal political and economic tool. Media outlets, for example, have been used to fulfil political agendas in exchange for state contracts; to the benefit of the most powerful family holdings in the country.
The Syrian refugee crisis is worsening the problem of child labour in Turkey. It is believed that as many as 1 million children in Turkey could be exposed to informal labour networks. Expanding concerns about child labour in Turkey are concerns for international investors, further enhancing the need to conduct integrity due diligence on supply chains and partners.
Fiat's 10-year contract with Serbia expires in December 2018, but will likely be extended. Serbia offers a favourable and profitable environment for Fiat; and will do so for as long as fully automated production is more expensive than human labour. Serbia’s sweatshop model of economic growth, however, only feeds the political elite, with low-cost manufacturing jobs contributing to poverty and a growing grey market for employment.
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