Colorful lights and sounds to fight winter’s darkness

During wintertime, parks and gardens often suffer from a drop of visitors; even popular parks like the Frankfurter Palmengarten are no different. To oppose this trend, but mainly to change the winter’s twilight into colorful lights and the area of the Palmengarten into a shining wonderland, the Palmengarten is hosting the exhibition “Winterlichter”.

The main idea of the project is to project light effects, pictures, videos and slides onto trees, plants, and the lawn as well as statues and water surfaces while accompanying everything with music. With this, the peaceful atmosphere of the illuminated park can be thought of as the opposite of the troublesome, lively atmosphere of the city. One of the highlights is the magnificent entrance building of the Palmengarten, whose dome looks like a freshly shaken snow globe while being illuminated. Another one is a colorful, life-sized horde of horses, who gives the Palmengarten a magical appearance.

The concept to use musical light effects in parks as a contrast to hibernal twilight was solely designed by artist Wolfgang Flammersfeld and had to withstand many dissenting votes. In 2006, Flammersfeld could realize his exhibition for the first time at the Dortmunder Westfalenpark, where it will be presented for the twelfth time this year. Thereupon his installations were transferred to the Frankfurter Palmengarten, where the winter lights will be presented for the sixth time now, as well as to Mannheim, Erfurt and Bonn. At the Palmengarten, visitor numbers raised from 1500 in the first year to over 32000 in 2016. Meanwhile, the exhibition was expanded every year, bringing more visitors in with more and more installations.

The overall 17 installations made out of 700 lamps (696 of them being LEDs), four video installations and five projections of slides can be seen every day between 17: and 21:00; a tour around the whole exhibition takes upon one hour. After visiting the exhibition, snacks and mulled wine can be savored at the Café Winterlichter as well as the Café Siesmayer.

1 Year TechQuartier – FinTech scene in Frankfurt

The Tech Quartier celebrates its 1-year anniversary. Lars Reiner, founder and Manager of Ginmon, Thomas Schalow, founder of AsiaFundManagers.com, Andreas Mang from easyfolio and Christopher Schmitz, author of the EY-study „Germany FinTech Landscape“ take a look at the FinTech scene in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main-Neckar region.

The FinTech scene in particular continues to grow in the financial centre. These are the findings of the EY study Germany FinTech Landscape – Insights into the respone of financial institutions to FinTechs and inter-FinTech collaboration, which was published in September 2017.  Of the 300 German FinTechs, 73 alone are located in the Rhine-Main-Neckar region. 19 of them have settled in the TechQuartier, between Messe and Tower 185.

Frankfurt offers the best conditions for FinTechs

Lars Reiner, founder and managing director of Ginmon, a Frankfurt-based FinTech company, explains why Frankfurt is a particularly suitable location for FinTech. It enables private investors to invest in an automatically managed ETF portfolio. “The Frankfurt region combines important location factors that are unique in Europe in this combination. The most important financial institutions and regulatory authorities have settled here in the Main metropolis. As a technology company, Ginmon also relies on IT specialists to constantly optimize existing algorithms. The region can exploit the potential of numerous universities, especially the TU Darmstadt.”

Thomas Schalow, founder of AsiaFundManagers.com, shares this view: “Frankfurt has an established financial ecosystem with many relevant national and international players. Especially for B2B-FinTechs this is a decisive factor. Brexit will further increase the importance of the city as THE financial centre within the EU.”

FinTech cooperates with banks

The results of the EY study also show that FinTech’s links with traditional companies in the financial sector are becoming increasingly close. Christopher Schmitz, author of the study and partner for EMEIA Financial Services at EY, explains, “FinTechs and Incumbents are increasingly working together in digital ecosystems. This creates new opportunities and models for the industry.”

A glance at the partners of the TechQuartier shows this. Deutsche Bank, Frankfurter Sparkasse and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen are among the handpicked but established partners who round off the diverse mix of the world’s best start-ups. The exchange between the “big ones” and “newcomers” is promoted and desired through various networking events and workshops in the TechQuartier. Here, people work together instead of against each other.

This means that Frankfurt can also hold its own internationally, says Andreas Mang of easyfolio, who offers private customers individual investments on a digital basis, “There is more space than just one or two FinTech hubs in Europe. In addition, the Brexit discussion could also make Frankfurt more interesting for international start-ups.”

Thomas Schalow of AsiaFundManagers.com also draws an international comparison, explaining, “If the strengths of AsiaFundManagers.com are used consistently and quickly, in the long run, Frankfurt can also hold its own internationally. The advantages of the location are obvious: an existing financial ecosystem, the position as the most important financial centre within the EU and the infrastructure. However, I also have a direct comparison with other FinTech ecosystems such as London and Singapore. Unfortunately, Frankfurt is still years away from them.”

Short distances distinguish Frankfurt as a location

Nevertheless, Frankfurt has become home to him. He likes the mixture of Hessian down-to-earthness and internationality and is always looking forward to returning to Frankfurt. The founder of FinTech particularly appreciates the short distances between international investment companies, which can be covered well with Vespa or the subway. It is also the short distances that Lars Reiner of Ginmon at the Mainmetrople enjoys. “Frankfurt is the city of short distances. From our office, we can reach important partners in a few minutes. This makes it possible to work effectively,” Reiner explains. “In addition, a broad network has been established in Frankfurt by promoting and inspiring each other.”

Nevertheless, there are still some things that could be done better in Frankfurt. Lars Reiner von Ginmon wants affordable office space and the expansion of public transport. Thomas Schlaow also has concrete wishes like “networks, low-cost office space, simple regulation, venture capital and easy access to B2B partners. All this should go hand in hand. Andreas Mang from easyfolio sums up what all three FinTechs think, simply stating, “We feel very comfortable in Frankfurt.”

The complete EY study can be found here.

 

EY Start-up Academy – successful round of financing for Frankfurt-based start-up

  • Consortium comprising High-Tech Gründerfonds and lenders from Business Angels FrankfurtRheinMain e.V. invest more than EUR 775,000 in node.energy
  • EY Start-up Academy sets the stage for the round of financing
  • Hessen’s economics minister, Tarek Al-Wazir: Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region has the highest FinTech growth in Germany

The young Frankfurt-based company node.energy, a provider of digital solutions for managing microgrids, secures itself EUR 775,000 in growth capital. This was announced yesterday by the investors, comprising High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and lenders from Business Angels FrankfurtRheinMain e.V. The investors and node.energy met through the EY Start-up Academy, a three-month program for Tech and FinTech start-ups. The EY Start-up Academy’s closing event, which is staged in cooperation with Deutsche Börse and TechQuartier (TQ), took place on Tuesday at TQ in the West of the city, close to the Frankfurt exhibition center.

Frankfurt establishes itself as a Start-up Tech hub

The fact that node.energy successfully managed to raise this amount of investment capital at the EY Start-up Academy is testimony to Frankfurt establishing itself as a Start-up hub for Tech companies, says Christopher Schmitz, partner at EY and curator of the initiative. The Hessen economics minister, Tarek Al-Wazir, who helped set up TechQuartier and brings it political support, referred to the TQ on its 1st anniversary as “a place where people network.” The Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region exhibits, for example, the highest growth in FinTech companies across Germany. node.energy is a start-up of founders Matthias Karger (35) and Lars Manuel Rinn (30) that specializes in the commercial optimization of local energy supply concepts. The company focuses on housing companies as well as industrial and commercial customers. “The fact that node.energy was able to convince both our Business Angels and HTGF is testimony to the quality of start-ups in Frankfurt. A practicable innovation and an experienced team of founders have come together. The fact that it is a product for improving energy use and making it more efficient pleases us greatly as we are focusing keenly on this sector,” says Dr. Burkhard Bonsels, Managing Director of Business Angels FrankfurtRheinMain e.V., who was also personally involved in the financing round. The fresh capital is to be invested in expanding the team as well as enhancing the platform and financing the market entry in Germany.

Contact with around 40 investors established

Seven selected start-ups – Asteria, Creditlinks, EVANA AG, F ECTIVE AG, MES & DAK, StudySmarter and node.energy – participated in the EY Start-up Academy. They have met various investors, representatives from banks, experienced founders and other start-up experts at approximately 30 events over the past few weeks. At the evening event on Tuesday, seven companies gave a closing presentation and received the EY Start-up Academy Award. “This seal of quality should help the participants on their continued growth course and assist them in dealing with lenders and regulators as well as tax and legal advisors,” comments Christopher Schmitz. “During the EY Start-up Academy we have established many valuable contacts and significantly improved both our business plan and our investment pitch,” explains Tilo Kraus, Co-Founder of CreditLinks, just one example from the founders taking part. Overall, contacts with approximately 40 investors were established during workshops and one-on-ones, some of the participants are currently in negotiations and due diligence phases for further potential seed financing rounds.

Promote the start-up ecosystem

The EY Start-up Academy will be continued in 2018, and potentially expanded to include other hives of founding activity in Germany. “Our aim is to help create highly attractive conditions for Tech and FinTech startups,” explains Christopher Schmitz. “Frankfurt’s contribution to the Germany-wide start-up ecosystem is enormously important.” FinTech expert Schmitz names four agenda points on which cooperation partners from the private, public and educational sector should focus: promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial spirit, cut bureaucracy, bring about a business-friendly tax system and ensure the improved availability of risk capital.

Deutsche Börse AG turns 25

Deutsche Börse was founded as a stock corporation in December 1992, this date marks the start of the digitisation of the entire exchange value chain.

11 December 2017. Frankfurt (Börse Frankfurt). Deutsche Börse AG celebrates its 25 anniversary on the trading floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Monday. Numerous clients, regulators, former executive board and supervisory board members as well as employees join the bell-ringing ceremony to honour this anniversary.

On 11 December 1992, the former owners of the three independent companies – Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse AG, DTB Deutsche Terminbörse GmbH and Deutsche Kassenverein AG – opted to merge their businesses. The merger became effective on 1 January 1993, marking the foundation of Deutsche Börse AG. This created an integrated market infrastructure provider in Frankfurt and in Germany for the first time.

“European harmonisation plus digitisation were and are the cornerstones on which financial centre Frankfurt has been built. In the 1990s, the creation of Deutsche Börse as AG laid the foundation for boosting the financial centre’s international significance to a level corresponding to the important role the German real economy plays in Europe,” summarized Lutz Raettig, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Morgan Stanley Bank AG and former Chairman of the Exchange Council of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange for many years, in his laudatory speech.

“Over the past 25 years, Deutsche Börse has developed into Europe’s most important financial market infrastructure provider by far. The driving force behind this achievement was and is our vertically integrated business model that rests on efficient technology in all areas. On this basis we expanded globally and extended our business to include a wide variety of asset classes,” said Andreas Preuss, Deputy CEO of Deutsche Börse AG.
Some of the most important milestones in the company’s history are:

  • Launch of electronic trading system Xetra as an equities trading platform in 1997
  • Foundation of Eurex in 1998 as a merger of Deutsche Terminbörse AG (DTB) and the Swiss futures exchange Soffex to create Europe’s largest futures exchange,
  • Deutsche Börse AG’s IPO in February 2001 and inclusion of its share in the DAX blue chip index in 2002,
  • Introduction of a central counterparty, first on the futures exchange in the 1990s and for Xetra in 2003,
  • Merger of the German post-trading business with Luxembourg Cedel and subsequent 100% takeover of Clearstream in 2002,
  • Foundation along with partners of STOXX index provider and full ownership acquired in 2015;
  • Entry into foreign exchange with the takeover of Germany’s most successful fintech company 360T in 2015.

Photo Source: Deutsche Börse

TechQuartier-Director Sebastian Schäfer: “We are a community based on innovation”

It is the focal point of the FinTech and start-up community in continental Europe’s biggest financial centre – and it is celebrating its first birthday: TechQuartier in Frankfurt. A discussion with the director Dr. Sebastian Schäfer on the FinTech ecosystem in Frankfurt. In the interview, he discusses the milestones they have reached and the goals that TechQuartier has set for the future. Finally, he discusses the insecurity from Brexit facing FinTech scene.

Mr. Schäfer, You are looking back at one year of TechQuartier. Which milestones have been reached during this period?

First of all, we are really happy about the reception we’ve had from the start-up scene. With around 80 start-ups, we have a full house now. Within the first months, we had already let the first 1,600 square metres with around 110 working spaces. In June, we added another floor with further 114 working spaces. From the very first day, we kept asking ourselves how to create a lively community and how this should look. We know it is not only about a nice place to work but about inspiration, learning from each other and networking. So, we brought together interested parties, members and supporters along with fitting topics – and successfully developed and started interesting formats. For example, Landing Pad, Papillon, Money meets Idea, or the Start-up Academy.

From the experience you have gained – where do you see further potential for TechQuartier, what are its strengths?

You can always improve. Our claim is to become a globally recognised Hub. This includes strengthening engagement on the venture-capital as well as marketing of our success stories in Frankfurt. Obviously our strength is that all participants are pulling in the same direction.

Brexit is occupying the financial sector. Is it a subject-matter for FinTechs as well?

Of course we are talking about Brexit and possible consequences for the FinTech ecosystem. We can see that insecurity levels are huge. Since nobody knows exactly how things will develop you can primarily feel indirect effects. If, for example, a FinTech from Asia wanted to come to Europe, they would probably have chosen London as their location. Now Frankfurt is an option people think of. We can see that by the fact that FinTechs from over 20 different countries applied for our last LandingPad where we offer the possibility to get to know the FinTech-Hub in Frankfurt. This interest bears the possibility for Frankfurt and the region to develop itself into a powerhouse of innovations thanks to systematic measures.

If you look ahead: Which goals has the TechQuartier set for the future?

Our goals are well-defined: More start-ups, more partnerships, more success stories. We want to make a contribution to Frankfurt’s start-up scene becoming internationally recognised.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Financial Centre Frankfurt

Spahn calls for more élan for Frankfurt

Twenty-four banks are already planning to expand their Frankfurt business ahead of the upcoming Brexit – but the actors cannot rest on their laurels, reminds CDU executive committee member Jens Spahn. Especially opposite Paris, Hesse and Berlin would have to exert themselves. There is still much to be done on the Main.

The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Minister for Special Tasks, Jens Spahn, emphasized on Wednesday at an event of the Hessian CDU how important the further development of the Financial Centre Frankfurt is for the federal government in Berlin. Politicians must work even harder to maintain the metropolis’s leading position, he said. Spahn referred to Germany’s failed attempt to bring EU banking supervisor, EBA, from London to Frankfurt. Instead, Paris won the bid in November. In view of Brexit, and a possible resulting shift in euro clearing, Frankfurt must be more successful than EBA, said the 37-year-old, who was still working as State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance until October.

In order to make the Financial Centre Frankfurt more attractive, some things must be done on site, he said, recalling housing construction and labor law adjustments, especially for investment bankers. In contrast to other EU member states, the Federal Government is still keen to maintain a close relationship with the British in the future. However, it is not yet clear which access to the financial market the British choose: London, like Singapore, could become a financial centre whose looser regulation attracts business or anchor itself to the rules of the EU area.

Money for a light bulb

The phase of confrontation with the digitalization of the financial sector is over: Fintechs pivoted to cooperation with established actors – for which Spahn himself launched a number of initiatives and contributed to bringing the banks into dialogue with Fintechs. His motto: “Talking to each other is half the battle.” Speaking several times about the subject of blockchain, Spahn pointed out that the technology, which makes transactions comprehensible and without a central authority, allows him to see far-reaching changes possible. “Blockchain can make the business model of intermediaries completely superfluous.” Thanks to digital identity management, an investor can then also transfer money “to a light bulb in Malaysia,” said Spahn with a smile. He sees a need for action in the establishment of blockchain companies in Germany. Although a large number of software developers are at home in Berlin, the companies themselves (usually via foundation constructions) are at home in Switzerland – there is the so-called “Cryptovalley” in Zug.

After the Financial Centre event, Spahn made a stopover at the first Portfolio Day of the Deutsche Bundesbank. In his opinion, the German government is still at the beginning of sustainable finance. “Everything is still very timid in comparison to the demands and wishes,” he said. “With all our strength towards green finance is certainly not our motto.” In the recent exploratory coalition talks, Green Finance had been an issue, but in the economic not in the finance department. “However, it was just about a general commitment to it.”

Spahn pointed out three areas in which the federal government is already strengthening itself for sustainable investments: the fund for financing nuclear waste management, into which the nuclear power operators have paid around EUR 24 billion, is to be managed according to ESG criteria (environmental, social, governance). Secondly, sustainability is an issue for KfW, which is owned by the Federal Government and the Federal States: “In 2016,44% of KfW’s funding volume went to environmental and climate protection measures.” In addition, KfW is Germany’s largest and the world’s second largest issuer of green bonds and an important investor. Thirdly, during its G20 presidency, which just ended, Germany fought for a stronger focus on the issue of sustainable investment.

According to Spahn, public sponsors often have different ideas about what sustainability means. “There is certainly a consensus that there should be no investment in companies that rely on child labour. It’s more difficult when it comes to climate issues like nuclear power or coal.” He himself considers nuclear power to be an important bridge technology. “Should the question of how the state invests really be politicized?” He believes that market regulation is more important: the state must ensure transparency, for example. “That would be comparable to the electricity sector: only green electricity can call itself what green electricity is.”

Spahn also made it clear that for him, sustainable investment does not only consist of green capital investment and ESG criteria. This also included the security of the investment and financial market stability. “George W. Bush’s measures to promote home ownership were intended as a social measure, but ultimately contributed to the financial crisis.” Yield is also an important aspect. Spahn has long advocated a higher proportion of equities in federal funds such as the nursing care provision fund.

Source: Börsen-Zeitung, Issue 235 from 07.12.2017.

Costs of relocating Euro Clearing significantly lower than expected

  • Up to thirty-percent savings for asset managers if Euro Clearing moves to EU27
  • 100 billion USD costs estimated by London Stock Exchange found far too high
  • Maximum costs over five years to be around EUR 3.2 billion

Frankfurt am Main – The discussion on the effects of Brexit on Euro Clearing and its supervision continues to concern experts, practitioners and politicians. A working paper from Frankfurt based asset manager, Union Investment, indicates that relocating Euro Clearing to an EU27 financial centre would result in significant cost savings for asset managers. These savings should be realised in initial margin costs and clearing broker fees which currently account for approximately seventy-percent of the total clearing costs for asset managers. The paper explains that in the long term, the up to thirty-percent savings would compensate for any temporary additional costs caused by a wider bid-offer spread.

Another working paper by the Center for Financial Studies (CFS), an independent non-profit research institute at Frankfurt’s Goethe University, contests London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) estimate and other similar studies. According to the paper’s author and CFS Managing Director, Professor Dr. Volker Brühl, “Due to the fragmentation of the market there may be a temporary increase in costs. However, the costs of up to USD  100bn cited by LSE are not verifiable and are far too high. Basing an estimate on more realistic assumptions, the maximum costs over a period of five years are likely to be around EUR 3.2bn. This is before even accounting for the potential savings that asset management companies could make as a result of the relocation.”

Central counterparties (CCPs) and clearing houses are systemically relevant and critical components for maintaining global financial stability. Any crisis situation would likely require an injection of euro liquidity from the ECB and thus, these CCPs deserve to fall under ECB supervision. “The primary goal of any discussion on Euro Clearing must be protecting stability in European financial markets,” explains Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of Frankfurt Main Finance. “The exaggerated estimates stemming from London are neither constructive nor prudent. While decisions on Euro Clearing should not be made purely on a cost basis, the findings of CFS and Union Investment are reassuring. Should clearing relocate, the Financial Centre Frankfurt would be a competent alternative to London, especially with Deutsche Börse’s Eurex Clear.”

Currently, ninety-percent of euro-denominated OTC derivatives are cleared in London. Following Brexit, the calls to relocate Euro Clearing to a European financial centre under the ECB’s supervision, like Frankfurt, were reborn. In response, estimates from the London Stock Exchange pointed to a cost increase of more than 100 billion USD if clearing were to leave London.

The study from the Center for Financial Studies can be downloaded here.

The study from Union Investment can be downloaded here.

 

World’s first solo exhibition for the “Queen of Less”

Jil Sander is one of the most influential contemporary fashion designers. The simple and timeless elegance of her designs, together with the high-quality materials and sophisticated cuts gave her the title “Queen of Less.” After all, it’s the restraint and clarity that make Jil Sander’s fashion spectacular. An exhibition of the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) entitled “Jil Sander. Present Tense” is now dedicated to the elegancy of the designer in her fashion and beyond and conveys this to the visitor through multimedia elements.

Down to the smallest detail, the fashion designer herself, in close collaboration with the museum and especially with the museum director Matthias Wagner K, co-designed and implemented the world’s first solo exhibition on her versatile oeuvre in a museum.

On three floors and over 3,000 square meters of exhibition space, almost the entire museum area of the MAK, the visitor is not chronologically guided by the life and work of the fashion designer, but thematically. The exhibition is not a retrospective of Sanders career and the history of the company, neither a retrospective of her collections – time details are completely missing from the exhibits and thus underline the timelessness of Sanders designs. On the contrary, the visitor explores the artist’s complete works, going through rooms on the topics of fashion collections, accessories, cosmetics, fashion photography and campaigns, but also on architecture and garden art. A catwalk, Sanders Atelier and a flagship store were modelled for the exhibition.

Sanders choice for the first exhibition of her work came down to the MAK not without reason. The building by Richard Meier, with its rectilinear and transparent architecture, reflects the clear and reduced aspects of Sanders fashion and forms an ideal setting for the exhibition. Because of the architecture of the MAK and the convincing concept of the museum director Matthias Wagner K, the exhibition came first to Frankfurt and did not go to London, New York or a classical fashion metropolis.

The overall experience “Jil Sander. Present Tense” is musically ‘covered’ by the sound designer Frédéric Sanchez, who already provided the music to Sanders fashion shows, and its restrained, electronic sound. The exhibition is much more than a retrospective of Sander’s fashion; it is a multimedia overall experience, an interplay of architecture, light, film, music, text, photography, fashion and art that brings to visitors the simple elegance of the designer.

The “Jil Sander. Present Tense” exhibition runs until May 6, 2018 in the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts.

The Financial Centres Frankfurt and Astana intend to work more closely together

Frankfurt Main Finance e.V. (FMF) and the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) from Kazakhstan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the two financial hubs on Friday, 17.11.2017.

The AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov and Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of Frankfurt Main Finance signed the MoU agreement on the premises of the company Economic Development Frankfurt in the presence of the Kazakh Ambassador Bolat Nussupov, City Councillor Markus Frank, Managing Director of Frankfurt Economic Development Oliver Schwebel, and Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of FMF.

An AIFC delegation visited Frankfurt am Main last week. In addition to holding several meetings with Frankfurt Main Finance and FMF members such as German banks, the delegation attended the Astana International Financial Centre Forum within the framework of the Euro Finance Week, where Kairat Kelimbetov and his team presented their extensive plans for the years ahead.

“Astana is a young and ambitious financial centre, with which we have enjoyed a close and friendly relationship for many years,” as Frankfurt Main Finance President Dr. Lutz Raettig described the links to the Kazakh financial centre.

Hubertus Väth sees great potential in the new agreement that has been reached: “There are many different opportunities for collaboration in the fields of infrastructure, training, or internal and external financial centre marketing.”

Frankfurt and Astana will be implementing their joint plans over the next few weeks and months and will thus be making a contribution together towards strengthening their respective financial centres.

European General Affairs Council decides to relocate the EBA to Paris

The European Banking Authority (EBA) is moving from London to Paris. This was decided by the European General Affairs Council in a secret ballot on 20th November. The German government had also applied to host the EBA in Frankfurt am Main. The transfer of the EBA from London to another EU country is a direct consequence of the UK decision to leave the EU.

“We congratulate Paris on the relocation of the EBA, but we would have preferred a different decision because we believe that Frankfurt, all things considered, best meets the criteria stipulated to achieve the award,” says Dr. Lutz Raettig, President of the financial centre initiative Frankfurt Main Finance. “The award of the location to Paris means a greater decentralisation of financial market regulation and, in our view, signifies a political decision in favour of the principle of an EU-wide distribution of agencies and institutions. We remain optimistic about the future development of Frankfurt as a hub of financial activity.”

In addition to the Main metropolis and Paris, six other cities had applied to become the headquarters of the institution. The decisive criteria for the European General Affairs Council decision included a smooth continuation of operations, the timely provision of a suitable building, the transport infrastructure and international accessibility, the availability of living space, and the job, school and healthcare services available for the families of the employees.