Participatory Budgeting in Serbia: Lessons Learnt from Pilot Projects
Participatory budgeting has been advocated as a democratic innovation that could bring governance closer to citizens. A myriad of European countries have embraced this idea and piloted participatory budgeting projects at the local level. In Serbia, however, democratic innovations are at the infantile stage. Only a handful of participatory budgeting projects have been initiated so far. The aim of this paper is to present the main lessons learnt from these projects and to present participatory budgeting as a citizen-centric and fiscally decentralized approach to public financial planning and execution. Using the mix-method, participatory budgeting projects and programs in three local government units in Serbia were analyzed. The results indicate political will of only a handful of Serbian local self-governments to implement participatory budgeting and limited sustainability of the concept of democratic innovation.
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