Ljubljana illustrates the principle of small is beautiful, according to the city’s mayor, Zoran Jankovic, former CEO of Mercator. He says, “If you only look at Ljubljana’s number of inhabitants – 280,000 – it is a small city, but in every other way, it is equal to the biggest city in Europe. It is also the most beautiful city in the world!”
Ljubljana Vision 2025, a €4 billion development project, is designed to ensure that Ljubljana becomes one of Europe’s leading business and cultural capitals. The initiative has already attracted significant local and foreign investment.
Slovenia’s capital was named “World Book Capital 2010” by Unesco and has been designated by the EU as being Eastern Europe’s safest city. It has also been commended for its services for the disabled and for its openness.
Ljubljana has earned a reputation as an excellent investment choice thanks to its strategic location on EU transport corridors, business-friendly government, streamlined investment processes, cost savings and growth potential. Over the past three years, no Ljubljana company has gone bankrupt in spite of the global financial crisis.
Slovenia’s biggest investment projects
Two of Slovenia’s biggest investment projects are in Ljubljana. One is a €144 million initiative concerning garbage disposal in the city and 25 other municipalities over the next half century; the second, budgeted at over €350 million, is a new sports complex that includes stadium, multifunctional sports hall, the second biggest green area in the city and a 90,000 sq m shopping mall, the biggest in South-Eastern Europe. This is the largest public-private investment project in Slovenia to date.
Zoran Jankovic adds that the city government continues to upgrade quality of life for the residents of Ljubljana. Around half the city is devoted to green space and 99 acres of parks with 4,000 newly planted trees were opened last year. Roads in the city’s older sections have been paved with special stones which preserve authentic character while being easy to walk on. “We strive for harmony between the old city and new technologies,” he says.
Ljubljana welcomes more foreign investors. Zoran Jankovic cites the experience of European retailer SPAR, which entered the market in 1992 and is now the second largest retail enterprise in Slovenia. The mayor concludes, “Slovenia can serve as a European hub and a gateway to the Balkans. Ljubljana offers highly skilled workers, a university rated among the top 200 in the world, and thriving banking and tourism sectors. Investors can be sure of achieving good revenues.”