‘Insightful commentary and analysis from the heart of Europe’

 

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To the new EU leadership: How to proceed on China
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Trading Influence : a Union for a President
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The next EU Commission President, according to social media
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Knives being sharpened as the EU starts negotiations on its leadership
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Overview of social media: surge in focus on TTIP and energy in the final phase of the European election campaign
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2014 EU Change-over – A time-table
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Europe’s Highest Court drops a bomb-shell on Internet Search
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European Elections 2014 : Ketchum tracks an evolving paradigm change

To the new EU leadership: How to proceed on China

Two weeks ago we saw a deluge of new investments following Li Keqiang’s visit to the UK and Greece whilst the third round of negotiations on the EU-China International Investment Agreement (IIA) were underway in Beijing. Li’s visit follows Xi Jinping’s tour through the Europe last April, announcing the need for closer EU-China ties. As of this writing, the new EU leadership is starting to take shape, the question is if they will be able to capitalise further on China’s shift toward Europe. The EU will need to present a unified policy, which requires an understanding of why China is focusing on Europe and an accompanying long-term approach. In Europe, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sees massive opportunities for trade, a chance to diversify currency holdings and new technologies. Trade is a no-brainer, the EU-China trade amounted to over $420bn in 2013 making it the second-largest economic cooperation in the[...]

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Trading Influence : a Union for a President

In Shakespeare’s play King Richard III offered his Kingdom for a horse. In a similarly astounding manner the European Parliament seems to be handing control of the EU’s political agenda to the Council in exchange for having its candidate appointed as Commission President. Some see this as an astute way of increasing its power over the Commission. In this thinking, the Commission President will be more willing to bend towards positions taken by the EP if he or she has to thank his appointment to the EP. David Cameron seems to share this view. It has convinced him that accepting the EP’s candidate weakens the EU member states in the European Council. However, the opposite may be true. Before the Lisbon Treaty came into force the Council appointed the president of the Commission but he or she then had to be “approved” by the European Parliament. The parliament did so[...]

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The next EU Commission President, according to social media

Ketchum, in collaboration with Traackr, has been closely following the 2014 EU Change-Over as it is playing out on social media by tracking and analysing the main influencers in the surrounding discussions. Now that the new European Parliament has been elected, most of the attention and speculation has turned towards the next Commission President. Social media commenters are posting up a storm about who is going to take the top job. Though suggestions of Kaitanen, Lamy and Kenny as potential candidates are being raised, none of them are considered to be serious contenders. On social media, the race is down to Jean-Paul Juncker and Christine Lagarde. Among the English posts Juncker is trending, something he has been able to do throughout the elections. Even though Lagarde has a lot less mentions than her competition, the conversation about her is predominantly positive and she is gaining momentum. Lagarde is viewed as[...]

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Knives being sharpened as the EU starts negotiations on its leadership

The EP elections did not really surprise anyone. One of the much noted aspects was the mounting support for Eurosceptic parties in many countries, including in some of the original six. The Netherlands was bucking the trend as the Eurosceptic PVV of Geert Wilders lost a seat rather than winning several as they had hoped and expected. But in France, the UK, Greece and Denmark the Eurosceptics claimed important victories. Even in Germany, a country normally opposed to extremist parties, the Alternative für Deutschland did much better than expected. This has led some well-respected journalists and other observers to call for changes at the EU. The FT’s Gideon Rachman called it a populist howl that EU leaders cannot simply ignore. He admits that in a currency union “control of economic and fiscal policy can never be fully restored” (which is why he believes in a break-up of the euro). But[...]

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Overview of social media: surge in focus on TTIP and energy in the final phase of the European election campaign

As the elections to the European Parliament have been approaching, more and more social media users comment on them. Conversations cover a wide range of topics related to EU affairs, but which are the ones that have been most popular, in particular this final week? And who are the most influential people engaging in social media conversations? Data generated by Traackr allowed us to identify the most trendy topics around the EP elections, monitoring the social media during the month of May. The results show EU relations with Russia and Ukraine, trade and in particular the TTIP and energy are the topics which were menioned most in the conversations. TTIP negotiations and energy were widely discussed topics as of 19th May, coinciding with the final phase of the electoral campaign. References to EU relations with Russia and Ukraine mounted as the events unfolded. Regarding the top most influential social media[...]

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2014 EU Change-over – A time-table

Today the UK and the Netherlands are the first EU member states where voters can elect a new European Parliament. The other member states will do so in the next three days. The 2014 change-over will of course involve many other changes and appointments including that of a new European Commission, a new High Representative and a new President of the European Council. The PDF timetable below sets out when the various decisions are likely to come down. 2014 EU Change over time table Keeping checking back here for more on the European elections.

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Europe’s Highest Court drops a bomb-shell on Internet Search

  In a landmark decision, the exact consequences of which seem hard to fathom at this stage but will go very far, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that internet search engine operators are responsible for the processing that they carry out of personal data which appear on web pages published by third parties. The case, which involved Google’s ubiquitous search engine, made it clear that search engines are not simply seen as a referencing service to other web content, but they “enable any internet user, when he makes a search on the basis of an individual’s name, to obtain, through the list of results, a structured overview of the information relating to that individual on the internet.” The Court observed that “this information potentially concerns a vast number of aspects of his private life and that, without the search engine, the information could not have been interconnected or[...]

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European Elections 2014 : Ketchum tracks an evolving paradigm change

  In less than a month from now, on 22 – 25 May, voters in the European Union will elect a new European Parliament (EP). Those elections will be followed, later this year, by the appointment of a new European Commission. With concerns about unemployment, slow emergence from the economic crisis, security concerns, climate change there is no shortage of campaign issues. In addition the media have identified a general feeling of “euro-fatigue” and expect strong support for parties on the far left and right, including many that are anti-establishment or “Eurosceptic”. This risks turning the elections in some countries into a referendum on the EU, rather than a vote on policies to address the real and very important issues at stake. Ketchum Brussels, in partnership with Traackr, has been tracking the debate on these issues on the main social media. You may want to have a look at who’s[...]

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