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 capable, likeable and was pegged as a possible candidate months ago. Juncker is viewed less favourably.

The discussion does not revolve around who would be the better candidate but rather who has the authority to choose the next President, the Parliament or the Council? Those who would like to see a more directly democratic Europe are calling for Cameron and other EU leaders to accept Juncker in order to give more recognition to the 22-25 May elections.

The counter point is made by those that want to see a less federal EU and dislike Juncker. They point out that most citizens in the Member States did not vote for him directly.

The rest of the discussion tries to make sense of the backroom politics going on and analysing the actions of Cameron, Merkel and other leaders. The narrow consensus is that Juncker still has the best chance at becoming President, regardless of personal preferences.

In the German speaking social media we see a similar picture as in the English, Juncker has more mentions but Lagarde is gaining ground.


In this case the discussion is focused on Merkel’s actions with response to Cameron’s demands. Initially the speculation was that Merkel would throw Juncker under the bus and buckle to Cameron. The discussion on whether or not Merkel is taking the right approach has the German social media spilt and probably will continue to do so even after a new President is selected.

In the French discussion, Lagarde has actually trended past Juncker over the last few days.


In the discussion Jean Sébastien Léfebvre, who has a lot of reach and resonance on social media, pointed out how undemocratic the current process is.

He also made a point of saying that having Lagarde become the Commission President would prevent her from running in the French Presidential elections in 2017.

In Spain Lagarde trends over Juncker, but only at a first glance. Many posts on Lagarde are about her work as head of the IMF in Africa.


The discussion on the next Commission President is dominated by Idafe Martín Pérez, who has extensive reach on social media.

He is sarcastic about Lagarde and favours Juncker as the only legitimate candidate. Claudi Perez of El Piaz took a similar stance seeing Merkel’s suggestion of Lagarde as insincere.

The discussions, speculations and analyses will keep dominating social media as the political dealings in Brussels continue. As all the commentators square off to give their insights, we will give more insights into the discussions and new development in the 2014 EU Change-Over.

To see more on the people influencing the EU debate on social media, check out our influencer lists: English, French, German and Spanish.


About the author

PA Team
PA Team

We are a team of PA experts who have been breathing within the “Brussels Bubble” for years, mastering governmental relations at the EU level. We provide insights, expertise and experience about the EU, helping clients contribute to shaping EU policies.

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