Citizens’ participation remains a great challenge to democracies across Europe, especially given the rise of populism and vote disillusionment in recent years. Hence, many cities have developed new tools to boost citizen engagement, such as ‘participatory budgeting’.
Participatory budgeting aims to involve citizens in decision-making around the uses of municipal budgets. It is a process whereby local authorities give residents the opportunity to voice their opinions and propose ideas about the allocation of funds within their cities. The tool aims to bring democracy closer to citizens, helping them become actors of change.
However, critics argue that although participatory budgeting across Europe has boosted civic engagement, it has not yet brought much diversity nor a wider range of views to the pool of participants. A major challenge lies in ensuring maximum inclusivity and encouraging all citizens to engage in local political processes.
In the context of the H2020 project DEMOTEC , join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss the opportunities and challenges participatory budgeting offers to strengthen democracy in European cities. Questions to be discussed include:
– Can projects like DEMOTEC make a material difference in encouraging citizen participation?
– How to help local authorities develop participatory budgeting?
– How can the pool of participants be expanded so that a wide range of views is represented?
– What can be done on a European level to support these local initiatives?