On 5 July 2023, the Institute of Public Finance presented the results of the ninth cycle of budget transparency research of all 576 Croatian regional and local governments.
The overall average level of budget transparency – measured by the number of budget documents published on regional and local governments’ websites – year after year keeps improving and, in this cycle, stands at 4.6 (out of a maximum of 5). This is a significant improvement since 2015, when the average stood at 1.8. Although publishing of documents does not guarantee absolute transparency, it is considered the initial step toward its higher levels necessary for citizens’ participation in the budgetary process and control over the collection and spending of public funds.
“Since after nine cycles, the majority of local and regional governments publish all five key documents – which was our goal – we are ending this research in this form (with this methodology), hoping that budget transparency will continue to improve and enable citizens to understand and decide upon their budgets” concluded Mihaela Bronić, head of the research that results from the Croatian Science Foundation's project Does transparency pay-off? The political and socio-economic impacts of local government budget transparency in Croatia.
Along with the representatives of the Institute of Public Finance – Mihaela Bronić, Katarina Ott and Simona Prijaković – at the presentation participated also the State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration Sanjin Rukavina, State Treasurer Danijela Stepić, the Head of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County Marko Marušić and the Head of the Municipality of Donja Motičina Željko Kovačević.
A detailed research analysis is available in the IPF Note Budget Transparency in Croatian Counties, Cities and Municipalities: November 2022 – April 2023, while an interactive map shows the situation in all counties, cities, and municipalities.
The presentation was supported by the Representation of the European Commission in Croatia, the Croatian County Association, the Croatian Association of Cities and Janaf.
Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix