Jun 1, 2018

Annual Meeting of the OECD CESEE Senior Budget Officials Successfully Concluded

In organization of the OECD and the Ministry of Finance of Croatia, Senior Budget Officials (SBO) from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) gathered in Zagreb, Croatia on May 24-25, 2018 for their 14th annual meeting. This OECD network provides an important platform at which ministries of finance from CESEE countries can share their reform achievements and progress with other countries on a regular basis.

At the meeting present were 58 representatives of 24 CESEE countries and 17 different non-governmental institutions involved in design, leadership and support of budget reforms in their countries. On this occasion, officials from ministries of finance presented their progress in carrying out reforms over the past year while indicating the planned activities and cooperation in coming period. Priority reform topics in the region were examined which (amongst others) included: introduction of program and performance budgeting, strengthened management of public investment projects, improvement of fiscal risk analysis, introduction of spending reviews, etc.

CEF constituency countries have been active in the discussions, for example; the Croatian hosts showcased recent and planned budgeting reforms and innovations in the country, a Bulgarian official presented efforts to strengthen its Medium-Term Budgetary Framework, delegates from Kosovo distributed the new Citizens Budget, and a Slovenian representative facilitated a discussion on Open Data.

Special focus was placed on discussing budget transparency and public participation in budgeting, and as a result the officials have identified a joint roadmap and concrete measures to enhance disclosure of budget information and public participation in their countries. Learning needs captured at the event will be taken into account in programming future CEF learning initiatives.

As an addition to this meeting, on May 23, the officials attended the workshop on Digital Tools, IT, and Citizen Engagement organized by the Global initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT). On this occasion the CEF has actively contributed by moderating discussions on establishment of fiscal transparency portals stepping out as a recently joined GIFT Steward for SEE region.

The next year’s OECD CESEE SBO Meeting will be hosted by the Ministry of Finance of Belarus in Minsk