Participatory budgeting: before developing, find out where you are

After long and detailed work, the “Empowering Participatory Budgeting in the Baltic Sea Region” (EmPaci) project is ready to uncover and introduce the first project output – Status Quo Analysis.

To give an idea of how Participatory budgeting (PB) can be implemented, this Status Quo Report aims to provide insights into the current state of citizen participation (CP) in general and PB in particular. It focuses on each of the EmPaci project partner countries – Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia – as well as Denmark, Estonia and Sweden.

First, on a national level, a short general description of the countries and definitions of CP and PB, a description of successful PB projects and potential hindrances and ways to foster PB in these countries, are provided. Secondly, the Status Quo Report proceeds with specific information about those municipalities, districts or planning regions, in which the EmPaci project is planning to either implement new or redesign already existing PB processes.

The following nine locations have been selected for the EmPaci PB pilots: Lahti (Finland), Bützow (Germany), Vidzeme Planning Region (Latvia), Rietavas and Telšiai (Lithuania), Bielsko-Biała (Poland) as well as Moskovskaya Zastava/Moscow region of St.Petersburg, Suoyarvskoye Urban Settlement in the Republic of Karelia and Gatchina Municipal District in the Leningrad Region (Russia). These places are very different in terms of their surroundings, financial possibilities, characteristics of their citizens and legal frameworks. They have different stages for PB implementation, from no experience to several successful cycles of PB. Consequently, all locations deal with different challenges, from getting something new started to improving something existent. By making such information, knowledge, and practices available, stakeholders may find relevant inspiration applicable to their own region or municipality. Respectively, one can consider building a vision of “What could PB look like in our municipality?” “What could we change to improve our PB process?” This document, therefore, seeks to build capacities to implement PB in the BSR.



Status Quo Analysis is just one of the first results of the EmPaci project. Soon, in the coming months, further materials are planned for publication:

A guidebook PB Blueprint: Successful PB projects, also beyond the BSR, will be analysed, and the best practices presented;

Guide and description of the PB approaches (i.e. local adaptations);

Guidebook for practitioners on how to implement PB;

Public Budgeting Tool Feature Matrix with interactive selection and filtering capabilities;

– Online Manual and different Training materials to support PB organisers in educational activities;

Communication and Dissemination Plan (CDP) for a better understanding of how to organise these processes.

Follow our web page to find out more about the project and the latest outcomes or social accounts of the national partners involved in the project.

Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic decision-making we do believe in, where ordinary people take part in preparing and adopting a municipal or public budget. In the BSR, only a few municipalities have applied a PB process on a regular basis. If you are interested in getting the support to develop your PB, please contact your national or the nearest EmPaci partner. More about the project can be found on


Together we can gain more power in decision-making within local, regional or national public institutions!


Photo (c) by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay 

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