Published on 29 July 2021
About this good practice
At the beginning of the year the mayor of the City Municipality of Velenje Peter Dermol, together with his colleagues of the administration of the City Municipality of Velenje, established a new municipal office, the priority goals of which are a fair restructuring of the region and a safe and sustainable regional economic development. Based on the Ordinance on Amendments to the Ordinance on the Organization and Work of the Municipal Administration of the Municipality of Velenje, the existing Office for Development and Investments was transformed in such a way, that part of its tasks were transferred to the new Office for Economic Development and Restructuring. The establishment of the new office was also welcomed at the session of the Velenje City Council. The new office has taken over the planning of new investments and projects related to the local decarbonisation process and economic opportunities. The director of the local business incubator and vice-president of the SAŠA Chamber of Commerce, Karla Sitar, took over the management of the newly established office. She is leading a group of 5 young trainees who will have the opportunity to use their fresh energy and innovative approach to help create good projects that will provide more non-refundable funds to make new quality and necessary investments. The new office now employs 13 experts in the fields of tourism, geology, sociology, administrative sciences, economics, landscape architecture, international relations, etc.
The costs incurred with the establishment of the new Office are eligible from the annual budget of the Municipality of Velenje and from its other marketing activities. The trainees were selected on the basis of a public call. Operating costs of the office are approximately 20.000-25.000 € per month.
Evidence of success
The new municipal office immediately began to work. The Office's priority is to provide a broader economic regional vision and strategy, as well as to provide new projects, investments, and other business opportunities. The Office has sent more than 50 comments and suggestions on the new National strategy for phasing out coal, and has participated in events, consultations and meetings concerning the regional and state restructuring. Numerous investment projects are also being prepared.
Potential for learning or transfer
With the European green deal, all members of the European Union are slowly closing their coal mines. Coal activity, which has been associated with tradition and culture for several centuries, has left an inevitable and emotional mark in some coal-intensive regions. However, earmarked European funds will not be enough to patch up the high social and economic deficit that will result from the closure in the labour market. Each coal-intensive region is in the restructuring process on its own and each restructuring process is unique and unrepeatable. All local governments should work towards ensuring the greatest possible regional prosperity, should know the regional weak points, untapped potentials, most promising investments, and initiatives of their restructuring region. Ensuring the most promising sustainable economic future, should be the primary focus.