Active Citizens - Prosperous Municipalities

The level of democracy in a country is largely determined by the active participation of citizens in the decision-making process. Questions related to this involvement can be seen in two directions. On the one hand, whether the existing regulatory and institutional environment allows for civic participation and, on the other hand, whether citizens themselves are ready and motivated to participate in the discussion and decision-making on public policies. A prerequisite for greater citizen engagement is clear and transparent rules and procedures for involving civil society in the local decision-making process. This is valid for all forms of civic participation, as for those mentioned in the Law on the direct participation of citizens in state power and local self-government - local referendum, local civic initiative, general assembly, as well as voluntary initiatives such as public consultations, joint committees and others. Currently, the situation is characterized by poor use of mechanisms to harness civilian energy and forces in the implementation of good practices for civic participation in public policy making at the local level. For this reason, as a part of the project, Bulgarian practices will be explored and analyzed, both applying statutory mechanisms for citizen participation in local self-government and voluntary initiatives to identify weaknesses in them. In addition, European practices in this area will be explored. On the basis of the analyzes, models for successful citizens' representation will be developed and the process of constitution and functioning of such instruments in our country will be supported. The project will contribute to changes in the existing practice in Bulgaria with the ultimate goal of more effective implementation of the principles of democratic governance and public control of public policies at local level through more active citizenship.