Posts in "United Kingdom" Category — Page 2

A trio of troubles in Tusk’s in-tray

??????????????????????????????????The final piece of Europe’s jigsaw is almost in place.

On Monday, Donald Tusk (pictured above) – elected by the national leaders at the end of August, becomes President of the European Council. But what faces the former Polish prime minister when he arrives in his new office on Monday?

Herman Van Rompuy – Tusk’s predecessor in the role – identified three key issues when the new President was unveiled in the summer. None of the these three issues has become simpler in the last three months.

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Who will be the social media champion of #TeamJunckerEU?

Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission team faces questions from Members of the European Parliament next week – but they already being probed on Twitter.

So how well are the commissioners-designate prepared to engage online – and who will be the social media king or queen of the new Commission?

Download our PDF infographic of the new European Commission on Twitter

There are more commissioners-designate on Twitter than serving commissioners – which is no surprise. Despite the fact that the Juncker team has more senior national experience than José Manuel Barroso’s team, they have fewer followers on average (19,000 in Juncker’s team as opposed to 26,500 in Barroso’s). However, their accounts should quickly gain followers – if they survive the hearings.

Pierre Moscovici, a former French finance minister, Commissioner-designate for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, and a relatively early adopter of Twitter, has the largest following – just over 109,000. (Barroso is the most-followed Twitter user in the current team, with 121,000 followers.)

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Scotland votes No: what happens next?

Scotland voteScotland has voted No in yesterday’s landmark independence referendum, by a margin of 55% to 45%.

The turnout was an unusually high 85%. In the final days of the campaign, the pollsters converged on a margin of victory for the No side of 52% to 48%. The result was within the margin of error (three percentage points), but there will be questions asked of the main polling companies and their methodologies.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has reacted to the result by stating a “balanced settlement” is needed for the whole of the United Kingdom. He has announced that work will start immediately on proposals to answer the ‘West Lothian question’ – that is, the situation whereby Scottish MPs can vote in Westminster on issues that only impact England, while English MPs have no say over matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

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Herman’s checklist: finding a balance for the EU’s top jobs

9157497455_724ede816a_h - UPDATEDA big week, and a careful balancing act

This time next week, Angela Merkel will be celebrating her sixtieth birthday – and short of anything better to cheer, the rest of the European Council will probably be celebrating the end of the gruelling quinquennial EU top jobs race.

Tuesday (15 July) sees the election of the new President of the European Commission. Jean-Claude Juncker does not quite have his feet under the desk yet, but the ‘grand coalition’ that held for Martin Schulz’s election as President of the European Parliament is expected to hold and see Juncker made President-elect.

And then, on Wednesday, the rest of the pieces of the top jobs jigsaw are expected to be put into place.

The European Council, denied a backroom deal over the Commission presidency, can (more or less) get back to old ways with its selection of a new President of the European Council and a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (although the choice for the latter position is one for leaders to take with the President-elect). A new permanent president for the Eurogroup (finance ministers of eurozone countries) is also expected to be named.

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The new European Parliament on Twitter: look who’s talking

BeFunky_infographic.jpg

Download our PDF infographic of the new European Parliament on Twitter

As predicted, more MEPs are on Twitter than ever before (531 compared to 408 in the previous EP), and almost half are tweeting every day.

Our infographic of the new European Parliament on Twitter shows this increase in the number of Twitter users also brings in some significant new faces: Pablo Iglesias, a Spanish Podemos MEP who is the radical left candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament, has more than 400,000 followers – far ahead of leading tweeters from the last parliament (such as Marine Le Pen, Martin Schulz or Nigel Farage). The GUE/NGL Group also has the biggest proportion of daily tweeters.

On the opposite side of the hemicycle, nearly 80% of MEPs from the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) Group are on Twitter. The group also features the Parliament’s two most prolific tweeters (both new MEPs from the UK Independence Party – it remains to be seen if they will remain so active when they take up their roles as MEPs).

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Britain at the heart of Europe – on Twitter, at least

Vienna GfK studyNever mind the Pollock-style imagery: Axel Maireder‘s data-rich map of the European Twittersphere contains some fascinating insights into online conversations around the European Parliament elections.

Behind the explosion of colours is two months of tweets about the elections analysed by Maireder and his team at the University of Vienna, in collaboration with market research institute GfK. They tracked more than 1.3 million tweets from nearly half a million Twitter users to develop a map of the online political landscape.

Read the study by the University of Vienna and GfK Read more on the GfK website

The map – which features the 11,844 accounts that tweeted at least once about the elections and which were followed by at least 250 other accounts that also tweeted – helpfully visualises the most important and influential users who talked about the 25 May polls. Larger dots indicate a larger number of followers; the closer they are plotted, the greater the similarity in their followings.

But what is the meaning of this map and this data? And how can we use it?

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Building a new Commission – the runners and riders for the next College

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]Post updated later on Wednesday 11 June to account for news that Dacian Cioloș (Agriculture and Rural Development; Romania) may be re-nominated to the Commission.[/infopane]

With the choice of a President of the European Commission still up in the air, we are a long way off knowing the full team that will occupy the upper floors of the Berlaymont for the next five years.

Nevertheless, national governments are already putting forward their proposed nominees to sit in the new College. Here’s our look at the comings and goings in the Commission in 2014, and the potential candidates to take a seat in the new Commission.

If you have comments or suggestions, please include them in the comments box.

See our country-by-country guide to the potential nominees

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Who’s going where? Tracking the musical chairs in the European Parliament

[infopane color=”5″ icon=”0049.png”]Please note that since the constitutive session of the European Parliament on 1 July 2014, this page is no longer being updated.[/infopane]
EPP S&D ALDE G/EFA ECR EFDD GUE/NGL NI
221 191 67 50 70 48 52 52
27 countries 28 countries 21 countries 17 countries 15 countries 7 countries 14 countries 10 countries
The 2014 European elections brought 34 new parties or independent candidates to the European Parliament.

Now, many of those new MEPs are seeking to join political groups to strengthen their voice in the Parliament, while a battle goes on between the groups to attract new members that help ensure their survival and maximise their influence, speaking time and funding.

One new group – the European Alliance for Freedom – has also been mooted as a way to bring together anti-EU parties on the radical right. To form this and other groups, a minimum of 25 MEPs are needed, representing at least seven member states.

At the same time, other parties are considering changing groups or allying themselves to a group for the first time.

Take a look at our table listing the parties up for grabs, based on the vast array of information from intelligence we have gathered and media reports – and contribute via the button below or the comments box at the bottom of the page.

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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.

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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.

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