Thursday, 4 July 2019

Local Government Units Improve Budget Transparency

ZAGREB, July 4, 2019 - The budget transparency of all 576 local government units, expressed with the number of budget-related documents published on their websites, is 3.9 of the maximum number of 5, it was said at a conference on the budget transparency of counties, towns and municipalities in the period from November 2018 to March 2019, organised by the Institute of Public Finance (IJF) in Zagreb on Wednesday.

Budget transparency has improved in relation to the previous survey, when it stood at 3.52 budget documents, but there are still local government units that do not make any of their documents public, it was said.

Presenting the latest survey, Mihaela Bronić of the IJF said that the average number of budget-related documents published by county authorities this year was 4.9 while towns published an average 4.3 budget-related documents and municipalities 3.8 budget documents.

For the sake of comparison, the average number of budget-related documents published by counties in 2018 was also 4.9 while that of towns was 4 and of municipalities 3.3.

"It should be noted that despite positive trends, only counties comply fully with the law. Conversely, there are many towns and municipalities that do not published even those documents they are obliged to publish under the law," Bronić said.

Last year, local government units spent 40 billion kuna.

Budget transparency was measured with the number of published key budget documents on local government units' websites.

Transparent budgets enable citizens to obtain full, correct and timely information on local budgets, IJF director Katarina Ott said and called on citizens to participate in that activity as much as possible if they wanted taxpayers' money to be spent prudently.

She expressed hope the relevant ministries would try to regulate and control local government units more adequately.

The State Secretary at the Public Administration Ministry, Darko Nekić, said that since the end of last year the ministry had been analysing data on how successful local government units were and that the process would last until December 2020.

After the analysis, a proposal will be made for a new territorial set-up or for changing the existing one, Nekić said.

More local government news can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

New Statistics Subdivision to Improve EU Funds Usage?

ZAGREB, January 15, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković held a meeting on Tuesday with representatives of the associations of Croatian counties, municipalities and cities for the talks on a new subdivision of Croatia for statistical purposes as envisaged by the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) developed and regulated by the European Union for the purposes of EU funds usage.

Plenković said that his cabinet was open to suggestions and proposals, noting that the existing statistical subdivision of Croatia into two NUTS statistical regions was made in 2012. Many debates have been held since then about whether this division is good or bad.

"We are currently considering new proposals for the statistical subdivision. At the initiative of the Regional Development and the EU Funds Ministry, we have engaged the Institute for Development and International Relations to prepare an expert assessment that can help us in the new circumstances and based on the acquired experience from the past five-six years to make a decision that is supposed to connect the subdivision of regions to the highest extent with the future 20121-2027 financial perspective," said Plenković.

The purpose of today's meeting is to consult county heads who have an insight into the state of affairs and are well acquainted with this topic, he added.

In attendance were a few cabinet ministers and Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac made a presentation on this topic concerning NUTS regions.

More news on the EU funds and Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Prime Minister Meets with Prefects of Croatian Counties

ZAGREB, December 11, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at the fifth meeting of government officials and prefects of Croatian counties and representatives of the associations of towns and municipalities and the parliament's local government committee in Rijeka on Tuesday that the government's cooperation with counties had become "systematic, open, and based on partnership."

The relationship between the government and county heads has become friendly, we all understand each other's priorities and look for ways for individual ministries to support Croatia's regional development, help reduce inequalities, create a positive legislative framework and find adequate budget funding, Plenković said, stressing that changes to the Act on the Financing of Local and Regional Government Units had made two billion kuna available to local government units in the first 11 months of this year.

Plenković recalled that the government was holding sessions outside of Zagreb, that meetings were held with county heads and that the Council for Slavonia held meetings as well. "The government's presence across the country is very concrete, project-oriented, useful and continual. We can say that we have developed a methodology which seems favourable to counties, cities, municipalities and other parts of Croatia."

Speaking about projects in Rijeka, he mentioned infrastructure, tourism and cultural projects. "Rijeka has been developing excellently and the government supports all projects, whether new or old ... and the government's partnership policy will continue," said the prime minister.

Šibenik-Knin County head and Croatian Association of Counties head Goran Pauk thanked the government for implementing principles of partnership, open cooperation and support in contacts with local government officials. Pauk believes that the planned transfer of state administration duties to counties will simplify and rationalise future processes and increase citizens' satisfaction.

Over the past few years we have taken over numerous tasks and duties from the state and the general impression is that we perform them more efficiently and in a more organised way because we are closer to citizens and know their priorities and needs, said Pauk.

Primorje-Gorski Kotar County head Zlatko Komadina welcomed the fact that the meeting was taking place in Rijeka, noting that the survival of the local shipbuilding industry was the most important issue for the county at the moment.

Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel, too, spoke about the survival of the shipbuilding industry and called for finding a solution to help shipbuilding survive both in Rijeka and in Pula.

After the government's meeting with county heads, an agreement was signed in Rijeka on a 20 million grant kuna for the Public Administration Ministry for a project to optimise the system of local and regional government. The project is designed to establish a single database for local government units and define a grading system based on different criteria.

The system will help determine which local government units perform well and which do not. Based on that, measures for the improvement of their work will be defined and the system will later possibly give guidelines for a possible reduction of the number of municipalities and towns.

For more on the local administration system, visit our Politics section.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

12 Towns and 33 Municipalities Have Higher Income than Zagreb

ZAGREB, October 14, 2018 - Last year, the City of Zagreb generated an income of 6.57 billion kuna, or 42% of the total income generated by all the towns in the country, with income per capita amounting to 8,177 kuna, while in 12 towns and as many as 33 municipalities income per capita was higher than in Zagreb, according to an article in the latest newsletter issued by the Institute for Public Finances (IJF).

Sunday, 22 July 2018

President Against Abolition of Small Municipalities

ZAGREB, July 22, 2018 - President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović attended on Saturday a special session of the Višnjan municipal council in the northern Croatian peninsula of Istria and said that, despite efforts to abolish small municipalities, those municipalities, like Višnjan, although small, have a great development potential.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Croatian Counties Mark Their Day

ZAGREB, May 19, 2018 - A ceremony was held in Parliament on Friday to mark 15 years since the establishment of the Croatian Association of Counties (HZZ).

Monday, 5 March 2018

Prime Minister Meets with Non-Party Local Mayors

ZAGREB, March 5, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday met with representatives of an association of independent mayors to discuss a model for future cooperation.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Municipalities in Croatia’s Adriatic Region Have Highest Per Capita Revenue

ZAGREB, March 5, 2018 - The Institute of Public Finance (IJF) has presented a survey of municipal, town and county budgets in 2016 which shows that the average expenditure per capita in counties was 1,052 kuna, while municipalities on average spent 2,979 kuna per capita and towns spent 5,141 kuna per capita in 2016.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Independent Mayors Possible Competition to MOST?

ZAGREB, March 3, 2018 - The political secretary of the opposition MOST party Nikola Grmoja on Saturday dismissed media reports saying that the newly-formed Association of Independent Mayors would be competition to his party.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Local Public Services to Be Privatised?

ZAGREB, February 13, 2018 - Social Democrat (SDP) mayors asked the government on Tuesday to withdraw the proposed amendments to the Municipal Services Act because they put private interest above private interest.

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