10 December 12

Together towards a better budget

BIRN Serbia and muncipal officials discuss the budgets of Raška and Kuršumlija with local residents.

As part of its "Participatory Budgeting" project, BIRN Serbia and local municipal officials held budget forums last week in Raška and Kuršumlija, where they presented the 2013 budget for each municipality and received input from residents.

Prior to the Forums, those municipalities conducted citizens’ survey on priorities to be funded out from 2013 Budget.  Among proposed, citizens could pick 3 projects of highest priority, by their opinion.

The forums allowed local residents to comment on the draft 2013 budgets and get answers from top local government officials about administration's plans for the coming year.

More than 20 local residents took part in the debate in Raška, and Mayor Jovan Čorbić stressed the importance of their participation. He told those gathered that it is important for all citizens to show initiative when it comes to examining the budget because it affects the life of the community.

"Let's determine together what is the most important and find out how to achieve it. It is useless to promise that it is possible to do everything in one year. Therefore, it is necessary to set priorities," said Čorbić.

Zagorka Šumarac, who heads the budget department in Raška, presented the draft 2013 budget in a "citizen budget" format, which gives residents a comprehensive look at the projects and plans that have been funded.

Zorica Nišavić from the NGO Women Raška said she was pleased that for the first time residents  had an opportunity to be informed about the budget.

"I hope that in the coming years we will again have a chance to talk about the budget and give our suggestions," she said. Nišavić's thoughts on the process were echoed by several other participants.

Meanwhile in Kuršumlija, more than 40 residents and local community representatives participated in the budget debate. Mayor Radoljub Vidić expressed his satisfaction with the large turnout for the debate and the questionnaire "Your money, our responsibility".

Local participation is crucial, Vidic said, because municipal officials can use the feedback from residents as an instrument to ensure the allocation of resources in accordance with local needs.

"The suggestions and complaints of residents push the local authorities to work on creating quality living conditions for all residents of our municipality," said Vidić.

The draft budget for 2013 was presented by Deputy Mayor Nebojša Jović, who stressed that this budget put forward 100 million dinars more than was planned in 2012.

"In 2013 we focused on priorities related to agricultural development and entrepreneurship, and some resources will be allocated for scholarships for high school and university students. The plan is to improve the living conditions of the citizens by reducing public spending and putting more funds into investments," said Jović.

Milivoje Perović, a local beekeeper, told the forum participants that Kuršumlija has the potential to be a substantial producer of organic honey, which would create new jobs, and suggested that this be considered in the next budget cycle.

The conclusions reached during the local budget forums will be presented to members of the Raška and Kuršumlija municipal councils, and BIRN signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the mayors that confirms further cooperation in this field in the future.

The project of implementing the practice of participatory budgeting at the local level through the European Partnership Programme with EU PROGRES municipalities in 25 municipalities in the south and southwest Serbia is supported by the European Union, the Swiss and the Serbian government.

Fill out my online form.

Latest News and Events


BIRN Albania Launches Monthly Publication

On September 30th, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched the first issue of its monthly bi-lingual print publication Reporter.al, which features investigative reports, features, analysis and news from Albania and the region.


BIRN Serbia Holds ‘Participatory Budgeting’ Workshops

The workshops at the Kopaonik mountain resort were attended by representatives of the finance and PR departments of ten Serbian municipalities.


BIRN Serbia Issues Data Journalism Handbook

BIRN Serbia has published the first handbook on data journalism in Serbia featuring tips, tricks and tutorials all in one place. The handbook offers all the basic knowledge for how to work with data and to conduct journalistic research from start to finish.


Civil Activists Seek Expanded Role in Balkans' Future

Civil sector groups from six Western Balkans countres urged their political leaders to secure freedom of expression and media independence, also calling for more of a role in their countries' EU integration processes.


Sixth BIRN Summer School opens in Albania

BIRN’s summer school for investigative reporting opened in Durres, Albania, with a plea to journalists to channel their curiosity.


BIRN Macedonia Launches “Skopje 2014 Uncovered” Database

On the anniversary of the devastating Skopje earthquake in 1963, BIRN Macedonia published an online interactive database “Skopje 2014 Uncovered” documenting the new classical look of Skopje in the past five years.


BIRN Albania Journalists Win EU Investigative Award

Three BIRN Albania journalists were among the top four winners of a prestigious EU award.


A Unique Voice and an Inspiration

Let me congratulate you on your 10th anniversary and wish you all the best for your next decade and hopefully more years of contributing to investigative journalism and media freedom in the Balkans. 


BIRN Conference Sparks Widespread Media Interest

Several Bosnian TV stations, including the region’s CNN affiliate N1 and over 30 online media outlets, reported on BIRN’s conference on media freedom challenges in the Balkans held last week.


BIRN Serbia, NALED, Run Budget Process Workshops

Nine towns and municipalities in Serbia - Sombor, Subotica, Pirot, Knjazevac, Sremska Mitrovica, Pancevo, Ruma, Zrenjanin and Trstenik - took part in workshops on the topic of involving citizens in the budget process with representatives of BIRN Serbia and NALED in the framework of the project "Participatory Budgeting".

In This Article


Donors and Partners