Greater citizen participation in decision-making at the local level

At todays session, the Serbian Government laid down the Bill on Ratification of the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on right of citizens to participate in the affairs of a local authority. The Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority contains provisions guaranteeing the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority. This document, drawn up by the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy, was opened for signature as a convention by the Parties to the European Charter of Local Self-Government (16.11.2009). The Additional Protocol reflects and respects the diversity of participation modalities and procedures established in national, regional and local legislation, including: the right to participate in public affairs at the local level, the right to information by local authorities, and the obligations of local authorities to facilitate the realization of these rights. In addition, in order to directly involve citizens in the process of decision-making on issues within the competence of local self-government, the Bill on Amendments to the Law on Local Self-Government also governs the issue of citizen participation in the public consultations by submitting a (qualified) proposal for conducting public consultations on these issues, in accordance with the regulations governing the citizens’ initiative, while the competent authority of the local self-government unit is obliged to inform the public in an appropriate manner that the work on the preparation of a regulation passed by the Assembly has commenced. By improving the system of local self-government through these two laws, the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government wants to support the strengthening of citizen participation in decision-making processes that directly concern them. Thus, the regulations will be adopted in a procedure that recognizes democracy, transparency and openness, which provides better quality results, which enables more efficient application of the regulations themselves, bearing in mind that citizens will know that they have contributed to the creation of regulations and that they will thus comply with the regulations to a greater extent.