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Visiting our colleagues at the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig

“True, you’re right! My Leipzig’s dear to me! It’s a little Paris, and educates its people”, it says in Goethe’s Faust. And indeed, Leipzig is a city of trade fairs, music, books and university. After the award of municipal rights and market privileges in 1165, Leipzig developed into an important commercial center. Leipzig’s tradition in being an important trading venue in Central Europe with one of the oldest trade fairs of the world dates back to 1190. Furthermore, you will find in Leipzig one of the oldest universities and high schools both for trading and for music in Germany.

Before the Second World War, Leipzig not only was an important trading place, it also was a well-known industrial site. Traditionally, the publishing and printing industry, foundries, machine construction, fur and textile manufacturing as well as piano manufacturing were based here.

 The European Energy Exchange (EEX), which has been part of Eurex Group since 2011, is located in the City-Hochhaus at Augustusplatz. The company is a result from a merger of the LPX (Leipzig Power Exchange) and the EEX (European Energy Exchange) in 2002. EEX develops, operates and integrates safe, liquid and transparent markets for energy and energy-related products. Clearing and settlement of all  commercial transactions is provided by the  EEX-subsidiary European Commodity Clearing (ECC), which also takes over Clearing services for further European energy trading venues.

Interview with Peter Reitz, Chief Executive Officer, about working for EEX in Leipzig.

We've been talking to Peter Reitz, Chief Executive Officer, about working for EEX in Leipzig

Mr. Reitz, please give us a short overview about the overall corporate goals of EEX in Leipzig and how many employees do work here?

EEX is part of Deutsche Börse Group for trading and settlement of energy and energy-related products.  We trade electricity, natural gas, emission rights, coal and, just recently, proof of origin for green electricity. With currently 230 Participants from 25 countries, we are one oft he most important trading venues for energy.

EEX pursues the objective of becoming the leading energy exchange in Europe. Traditionally EEX is very strong in electricity trade and generates its highest revenues in this specific segment. Furthermore we want to develop our other markets, access new fields of business in the commodity area and grow also through international co-operations. Leipzig is our head office. 130 of our 150 employees are working here. This includes the colleagues from ECC, who also work in this office building. Other offices of the EEX-Group are located in London, Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg.

Which challenges is EEX facing in the light of the changing energy markets? 

We operate in a highly dynamic environment. One of the main challenges of our industry is the turnaround in energy policy. The question that specifically preoccupies us here is, how the renewable energies, with their continually growing share of the German energy mix, can be integrated further into the market. Our business is, to a high degree, affected by political decisions, for example, currently by regulatory approaches at the European level, like the EMIR regulation or the discussions about the CO2 trading. Therefore it is important, that we participate actively on a political level and help develop methods of resolution.  

Why was Leipzig chosen as the location for the EEX?

With the liberalization of the energy markets, the first energy exchanges appeared in Europe at the end of the 90s. Several German cities besides Leipzig applied for running an energy exchange, such as Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Hannover. In summer 2000 the Leipzig LPX started, supported by the Saxon authorities and a Scandinavian partner, shortly after that the EEX in Frankfurt started.

What followed was a logical fusion in 2002. The name EEX was taken over and Leipzig became the location.

What is your favorite thing about living and working in Leipzig?

Leipzig is a fast moving city … not too big, not too small. It is a very young city and the round about 38.000 students create a very lively and varied scene. The cultural offering in Leipzig is enormous; it reaches from live concerts to classical offers in the Gewandhaus, the opera and the theater. It is also a very „green“ city with lots of  parks and lakes, offering ideal opportunities for all kinds of sports. The EEX is located right in the city center. I find the dynamic environment of energy trading especially exciting and I very much like to work with such a committed young team.

Leipzig facts & figures

Population:520 838 (2012)
Weather:2043 hours of sun per year
144 rainy days per year
Currency:1 Euro (€) = 1,35 USD
Price of a BigMac: € 3,38
Average rent in private accommodation: € 6,85 pro m2 (2011)

Did you know, that ...

-          … with its peace prayers and the „Monday demonstrations“ the Nicolai church
           was, the starting point for a peaceful revolution in Eastern Germany.

-          … the Honky Tonk - Europe’s largest Pub festival -  takes place in Leipzig.

-          … 350 years ago, in July 1650 the first daily newspaper was printed in Leipzig
           (the circulation was 200)!

-          ..that Leipzig university isn't only the second oldest university in Germany, it also produced some famous graduates:  Leibniz, Wagner,
           Schumann, Nietzsche, Lessing and Goethe all were students here.


Leipzig whereabouts

Where to go: Visit the ateliers of the „Neue Leipziger Schule“(new Leipzig school) at the old cotton mill in the south of the city. Listen to the world famous Thomanerchor in St. Thomas church, where Johann Sebastian Bach once was the choirmaster. The zoo with its „Gondwanaland“and Belantis are popular destinations for families. You can also discover Leipzig from the water – take a trip through the channels up to the “Cospudener See”.

What to see: In the inner city the historical arcades are witness to Leipzig’s history of being a trading metropolis. The “Grassi Museum of Applied Arts” and the „Picture Museum“ offer leisure and relaxation to art lovers. In the south of the city you’ll find the colossal monument to the memory oft he Battle of Nations, which in 1813 put an end to Napoleons predominance over Europe. From here one has a fantastic view all over Leipzig – which you can also enjoy from the observation deck of the City-Hochhaus.
Where to eat: From gourmet kitchens to small Tapas-Bars you can find almost anything your heart desires in the gastronomy of Leipzig. Enjoy traditional Saxon dishes at “Auerbachs Keller“ in the world-famous Mädler-Passage. Try a „Leipziger Lerche“ with your coffee, a pastry made with marzipan, almonds, nuts and jam. In the evening we recommend a walk to the “Barfußgässchen” – the city’s culinary mile.
Where to party:

There is such a broad variety of offers in Leipzig, you could turn night into day all week  The “Barfußgässchen” is right in the middle of the city, here you can find restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés one next to the other. The various outside sitting areas provide a perfect opportunity to end the day in Leipzig in a relaxed atmosphere. The “Gottschedstraße” with its fashionable „in“-restaurants, hip pubs, cafés and cocktail bars is not far away. You will also find a great number of clubs and student bars at the “Karli” (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße) in Leipzig’s south.
Where to shop: Find beautiful shops and souvenirs in the historical shopping arcades of Leipzig as well as in the shopping centers, as for example the central station or the “Höfen am Brühl”. Around the Leipziger market place you can find many fashion boutiques. The historical arcades in the exhibition houses (Messehäuser) have been elaborately restored. Today you’ll find luxury shops, designer boutiques and cafés in the Mädler Passage, Königshaus Passage, Barthels Hof, Petersbogen, Specks Hof and in the Strohsack Passage.


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