Conferences :: Fiscal decentralization in Croatia
The Institute of Public Finance, in collaboration with the Fiscal Decentralization Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe (FDI)–Budapest, organized a Fiscal Decentralization Forum in Zagreb from November 14–15, 2002. The objective of the Forum was to determine the existing state of affairs in fiscal relations between central government and local government in Croatia.

It was the intention of the Forum to spur an exchange of ideas and opinions among all those interested in fiscal decentralization processes in the Republic of Croatia (RC). Approximately 90 people attended from various sectors, including the academic community, the nongovernmental sector, the central and local government, international donor programs, and the media.

The Forum was divided into seven thematic units. The first unit included a discussion on “fiscal decentralization in the RC.” Katarina Ott and Anto Bajo from the Institute of Public Finance analyzed what had been done in the way of change over the previous year in the local finance and budget system, while Maja Lukeš-Petrović from the Ministry of Finance shared her outstanding insight into the process and effects of fiscal decentralization of the public sector in practice.

In the second unit of the Forum, Teodor Antić from the Ministry of Justice, Administration and Local Self-Government, gave a very useful presentation on decentralization and democratization in the central administration and local self-government. The same unit included a presentation entitled, “The legal and administrative framework for fiscal decentralization in the Republic of Croatia,” in which Ivan Koprić of the Law Faculty in Zagreb shared his thoughts on existing opportunities and myths related to decentralization in Croatia.

The theme of the third unit of the Forum was “Decentralization in transitional countries.” Since Stanka Setnikar-Cankar from the School of Public Administration in Ljubljana was unable to attend, her work on the experience of other countries and opportunities for fiscal decentralization in neighboring Slovenia was instead presented by Predrag Bejaković from the Institute of Public Finance. Serdar Yilmaz of the World Bank gave a rather provocative presentation of his paper on the measurement and influence of fiscal decentralization. One of the basic hypotheses of his work was that the degree of fiscal decentralization is not currently measured in a suitable way.

The day ended with two interesting presentations during the fourth and final thematic unit for the day. Ronald Hackett of USAID Barents Group presented his paper on fiscal decentralisation and revenue sharing in Croatia, followed by Mihaela Pitarević from the Institute of Public Finance, who discussed whether grants in the RC are allocated in line with criteria for horizontal fiscal equalization.

On day two of the Forum, Dubravka Jurlina Alibegović of the Economics Institute in Zagreb presented the results of a wide-ranging investigation into the financing of local self-government, part of a project of the Croatian Law Center entitled, “The Decentralization of Public Administration.” Within the same unit of the Forum, the topic of which was “Local financial management,” Bojan Pecek from the School of Public Administration, Ljubljana presented Srećko Devjak’s very interesting paper on the introduction of control and the development of the budgetary process in the Slovene municipalities in his absence.

The sixth also very interesting unit of the Forum, on “Fiscal transparency and accountability,” started with an address from Katarina Ott, from the Institute of Public Finance, followed by the mayor of Crikvenica, Ivica Malatestinić, who spoke of the positive experiences of his city in involving the public in the budgetary process. After that, Jerka Kezele, head of the Administrative Committee for Economics, Finance and Public Revenue, presented a very praiseworthy publication of the city of Varaždin, The Pocket Guide to the Budget of the City of Varaždin.

Within the last unit of the Forum, “Additional opportunities in financing for local units,” Goran Vukšić from the Economics University in Vienna spoke about foreign investment and fiscal decentralization, followed by Anka Macek and Sandra Zbodulja from the Economics Faculty in Osijek, who presented a paper on the balance sheet and financial policy of units of local administration and self-government.

On both days there was serious discussion of the current situation and the problems of fiscal decentralization in the Republic of Croatia. Special thanks are due to the large number of participants from the local government level for raising the quality of the debate. They attended the Forum looking for solutions to problems they encounter on a daily basis.

Fiscal decentralization in Croatia - Conference Proceedings (size: 2 Mb)
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