Posts in "Germany" Category — Page 2

Five days on from the election: five reflections on the Commission presidency

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]This blogpost, originally published at 12:55 on Friday 30 May, has been updated following remarks by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, later on Friday afternoon.[/infopane]

That was the week that was: an odd few days where the European People’s Party won the European Parliament elections, but was also the biggest loser; and where Socialists in the Parliament backed the EPP lead candidate for the European Commission presidency, only for some centre-right leaders to apply the brakes in the European Council.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EPP lead candidate, is still the frontrunner and the only person formally in the running. His chances have been boosted tanks to comments by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday, that she is conducting negotiations on the basis that Juncker should be President.

However, it is clear that a number of heads of government would like to dump him in favour of someone else. The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has been charged with an exploratory mission to find the person – Juncker included – who can command the sufficient majority in the Parliament and European Council.

Meanwhile, five political groups in the European Parliament have backed Juncker to have a first go at building majorities in the same institutions – and if he fails, are likely to call for Martin Schulz, lead candidate of the second-placed Socialists, to have a go.

If those who want to block Juncker in the European Council succeed – and it is not a done deal yet for the former Luxembourg prime minister – an inter-institutional battle between the Parliament and European Council will be on the cards.

Read More4

Elections round-up: EPP loses but stays as biggest group, while anti-EU parties surge

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Europe’s voters have backed a vast array of anti-EU and anti-establishment voters in the 2014 European Parliament elections, sending fewer MEPs from each of the main political groups back to Brussels and Strasbourg.

Despite being the biggest loser of the night in terms of seats, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) looks like emerging as the biggest party in the European Parliament with its support holding up in Germany and Poland among the larger member states, and good support across central and Eastern Europe. The Socialists are also set to lose a handful of seats, with the Liberals likely to lose around 20 seats according to the latest projections.

Read More0

Who and what will shape health policy in the coming years?

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????By this time next week, we may be starting to witness momentous change in the European Union: new people, a new policy direction, and a new paradigm in the way the institutions relate to each other. But where will these changes leave health policy?

The results of the broader policy discussions that affect the healthcare sector – and in particular the pharmacutical and medical devices industries – may take a while to become clear. The results of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and reform of the Troika could take several years to become clear, although we can begin to predict the impact the new European Commission and European Parliament will have on them.

In some cases, this could mean more battles ahead: for example, Martin Schulz – the Party of European Socialists‘ candidate for the Commission presidency –  has stated his commitment to TTIP, but many Socialists are reluctant to accept many key elements of the potential agreement, such as the investor-state dispute settlement, and this opposition could cause headaches for European businesses.

In more detailed healthcare policy terms, there is perhaps more clarity, and also a bit more certainty following the developments of the last five years.

Read More0

Can trending hashtags help candidates connect with voters?

HashtagsPoliticians, especially those in Brussels, are often accused of being entirely out of touch with voters, and – so the argument goes – this has contributed to public disengagement with politics.

Can trending hashtags help? Trends on Twitter offer clues as to topics that have captured the public’s interest, but when politicians use those hashtags does it help increase engagement and interest?

One measure of engagement and interest is the number of retweets. In one test we found that tweets using a trending hashtag were around twice as likely to be retweeted and the number of retweets would also increase.

Normally if a tweet is retweeted a large number of times then a politician will feel that their message is resonating with the public (either that, or they have made a terrible gaffe). Retweets are certainly a better way to judge popularity or agreement with a message than follower counts, for example. Increasingly, trends on Twitter are being used to identify the issues that matter to people and – therefore – the topics on which politician seek to engage.

Read More1

The first head-to-head: much ado about very little

EP President meets Jean-Claude Juncker

A little bit of European political history was made yesterday, with the first televised head-to-head debate between candidates for the European Commission presidency.

The first debate between Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz – the lead candidates for the European People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists – took place in Brussels and was broadcast live on France 24, with a replay later that evening on Radio France International.

It is the first in a series of debates between the lead candidates (see panel) – and there is definitely scope for improvement if the candidates – and broadcasters – truly want to engage people in the discussion on Europe’s future leadership.
[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0869.png”]Next live TV debates

Juncker v Schulz
8 May at 20:15 CET – broadcast on ÖRF (Austria) and ZDF (Germany), in German
20 May at 21:00 CET – broadcast on ARD (Germany), in German

Open to all candidates (note: Alexis Tsipras not confirmed for 28 April and 9 May)
28 April at 19:00 CET – broadcast on Euronews
9 May at 18:30 CET – broadcast on Rai (Italy)
15 May at 21:00 CET – organised by the EBU – national coverage may vary[/infopane]

My overall view on the France 24 / RFI debate is that it that it was rather dull in format and content – everyone was playing things a bit safe. It’s natural for a first debate, but if the candidates and broadcasters want to engage voters, there needs to be more dynamism.

Read More1

A more visual EU election?

Visual communication is steadily entering its way into online campaigns for the European Parliament elections.

Candidates and political parties are showing rather than describing what they stand for, and we can see rather than read how candidates are being interviewed, campaigning, speaking and making pledges.

Images with quotes signed by the lead candidates of the two largest European political parties, Jean-Claude Juncker (European People’s Party) and Martin Schulz (Party of European Socialists) regularly float by in Twitter and Facebook feeds.

The Liberal ALDE Party uses wordclouds to set out its values and the European Greens encourage voters to create their own digital campaign poster.

Read More2

50 days to go, 50 things to know about Europe’s year of change

The countdown continues: at 08:00 CET on Wednesday 2 April, there are exactly 50 days to go to the opening of the polls for the European Parliament elections.

Here is our overview of where we stand and what you need to know about Europe’s year of change:

Top jobs | Country-by-country | PollWatch 2014 | The elections and beyond | Reading list

Read More1

There’s no escaping Twitter for Europe’s politicians

With their support falling to low levels, Europe’s mainstream parties are pulling out all the stops to freshen their image and reach voters.

The European People’s Party (EPP) Election Congress in Dublin clearly recognised digital campaigning as being at the heart of this year’s European elections, and contributed to a significant increase in interest in and debate about the polls. Over three days (5-7 March), more than 16,000 tweets (includes retweets) were posted about the EPP Congress. At the event itself, social media workshops were given by Twitter, Facebook and Google.

So it was perhaps surprising that Twitter-less Jean-Claude Juncker was chosen as the figurehead of the campaign. Juncker’s previous digital campaigning experience seemed to centre on fighting a losing battle to suppress spoof accounts but by the end of the Congress he had – as if by magic – a verified Twitter account with more than 5,000 followers, scooping up the followers of the @EPPDublin Congress account.

Read More1

Italy’s Tsipras List: who are the candidates and what do they want to achieve?

Press Conference : "Is austerity the only way out of the crisis? Alternative options for Europe"The ‘Tsipras List’ – officially ‘The Other Europe with Tsipras‘, which was presented on 5 March in Rome, is part of a growing trend of ‘personality-led’ lists of candidates for the European elections.

The List – which is the first confirmed list of candidates for the European Parliament election in Italy – is somewhat unconventional. Like lists in some other countries – such as Poland’s Europa Plus – Your Movement list (which we will look at in more detail in a future post) and France’s ‘Citizens’ Europe’ (led by Corinne Lepage MEP) – the Tsipras List brings together prominent members of civil society, professionals, intellectuals and others, in addition to politicians.

Read More0

How does the European Parliament tweet – and what impact does it have?

European day of action and solidarity.For jobs and solidarity in Europe. No to austerity.In response to an appeal by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), a large-scale mobilisation across Europe.The European Parliament is one of the most prolific international institutions on Twitter.

Almost 400 of the 766 members of parliament have a Twitter account and the Parliament itself has embraced 140-character communications in a big way.

Over the past five years the European Parliament has set up more than 80 official Twitter accounts, tweeting in 23 languages. The European Parliament has grabbed the opportunity social media offers to engage EU citizens directly.

This matters for its legitimacy, but is the Parliament making an impact?

Read More3