To Rotate or not to rotate? A question for the EU Council Presidency on Twitter


An intersting point has been raised by Matthias Luefkens for Europe Decides about having a rotating Twitter account for the Presidency of the Council of the EU. Considering the management of these accounts, the piece does raise some interesting point. I have left my contribution in their comments section.

Cattura A problem I could already foresee with Matthias’ solution is “what to do with all tweets?”Meaning that, for instance, tweets from @gr2014EU would now look like they were made by @IT2014EU.
An EU Presidency still remains a very team-based or national-based effort. The accounts that get closed after the term do work as archives of their achievements.

What is your take on this? Share it in the comments section below or joined the conversation on Twitter.

Great meeting the digital leaders from the EU Commission Representations

The newly appointed Digital Leaders in the Representations offices of the European Commission in the Member States came to Brussels for training in early December. This presented a wonderful opportunity to meet colleagues from the Representations and to explore the work of the Digital Leaders. Appointing specialists in the field of digital communication and social media is a very important step to coordinate communication efforts between the main seat of the European Commission in Brussels and understand and deal with national and local issues in the all European Union. The Representations play a major role implementing one of the goal of EU institutional communication which is speking with one voice while being united in diversity. It was a great day and hopefully an experience to repeat.

To know more about what the Representations are already doing on social media, have a look at Representations’ Facebook and Twitter lists

What happened during Schulz’s #AskMartin chat on social media


On May 19 at 12:30AM candidate President for the European Commission Martin Schulz hosted a chat livestreamed via SPD.de  and collecting questions via the hashtag #AskMartin

For such a short institutional/political chat, and the timing (lunch time around most Europe) the volume of conversations was significant with over 1.700 tweets using #AskMartin posted on 19/05 (until 5PM). Most questions were serious but there were obviously provocative questions, funny ones (like the one below) and open criticism. Nothing out of the ordinary. Continue reading “What happened during Schulz’s #AskMartin chat on social media”

A review of the European Commission’s social media presence in 2013


Co-written with @AmyJColgan, @PabloPerezA. Published on Waltzing Matilda Blog

Assessing our performances is key to understanding how we can improve. In this post we want to share with our readers about how the European Commission’s central social media accounts have developed – in terms of followership, engagement and the volume of conversation we are now having across our social media platforms.

European_Commission_Social_MediaFollower numbers
Let’s have a look at what the European Commission achieved in 2013 in terms of social media followership of their central accounts.

The World Leader Twitter & Web Directory


I was recently added to World Leader Twitter & Web Directory a project managed by Barclay Browne which I consider both ambitious and very useful for people working in social media and communication.

As we can see from the about page of their blog:

One essential element to the Electronic Diplomatic Dialogue, is being sure of “Who is Whom” among electronic accounts purporting to be those of governments and government officials. Hence, I assembled The “World Leader Twitter and Web Directory,” and have made it freely and publicly available with the simple goal of facilitating clear dialogue via Twitter both among government and elected officials and between world leaders and their constituents.

Now, I managed to get in touch with Barclay Browne, the man behind the scene and I asked him a few questions about his projects, ideas and goals for the future.

After joining Twitter, Barclay had the privilege of connecting with a group of individuals who care deeply about the larger world and their capacity to give to it. This crew who call themselves the #TFF’s have chirped their support and enthusiastic encouragement of Barclay’s development of the directory for over a year and a half now.

Barclay says she would never have met or connected with any of them if she had not joined the fray of public discourse that is alive and well in the Twitterverse.

Also, Mr. Nigel Cameron (@NigelCameron), and International Diplomacy, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey (@MuhamedSacirbey), have shared their encouragement with Barclay.

When one has the encouragement of people who have such great experience, it matters.

Barclay is the most part a “Twitterista,” although she does blog a bit and makes use of other digital tools for communication. She represents no formal or official group and labels himself a Twittizen.

Here is the interview I had with her.

index Continue reading “The World Leader Twitter & Web Directory”

Interview with captain Europe


It’s a bird, no it’s an aeroplane, no it’s a eurocrat, nooooooooo it’s Captain Europe. For the inhabitants of the Eurobubble, Captain Europe is not an outsider.

Captain Europe, mild mannered civil servant by day and superhero… well, mostly at weekends and at other times on request.

This is the description you can find on his Twitter bio, but let’s hear more about his story, his goa_gys1023-extra_largels and his projects for the future.

  • Captain, when and where were you born?

I was born somewhere in northern Europe shortly after my birthplace joined the European Economic Community.

  • How many people know your real identity?

I think there are about 20 people who know my secret identity – and a few more who know both me and my alter ego but haven’t yet made the link.

  • What does Captain Europe fight for?

I fight for the usual superhero causes: truth and justice. In an EU context, that means a number of things. Truth can mean busting the many myths about the EU, or teasing and provoking the powerful to keep them honest. It can mean informing citizens about the rights and benefits they enjoy thanks to the EU. Justice can mean standing up for consumers against powerful corporations (something the EU does rather well), or stimulating police cooperation to fight serious and organised crime, or defending intergenerational justice by protecting the environment. All these things are policies the EU covers; I merely symbolise, and sometimes stimulate, the EU’s action in these areas. Continue reading “Interview with captain Europe”

Interview with #RocktheUnion: raise awareness about the 2014 European Parliament elections


I recently found out about “Rock the Union” ,a project intended to raise awareness about the coming European Parliament elections 2014.

Together with a team of 5 people plus bus driver, Hans Mund the project’s manager wants to go through all 28 EU Member States in an old English Routemaster between October 14th and May 16th 2014:

Why does he do that?

  • to discuss Europe with the citizens on the local level,
  • to discuss why the European Parliament elections are important for the future of Europe,
  • to promote the idea of taking part in the elections,
  • to give the citizens a chance to send out their message to the candidates running for office in 2014.

Let’s read what Hans has to say about the project and its targets.

Rock-the-Union

Tell us, how and where did it all start? 

The idea for the Rock the Union tour came up on June 9th this year. I was quite frustrated after long talks about what some of the EU institutions are going to do in order to raise awareness about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Continue reading “Interview with #RocktheUnion: raise awareness about the 2014 European Parliament elections”

European Commission seeks “Capital of Innovation”


From a press release of the European Commission

The European Commission has yesterday started the search for the first European Capital of Innovation, or iCapital. The prize will reward the city which is building the best “innovation ecosystem”, connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business. Given that 68% of the EU population now lives in urban areas, it is these areas that will contribute the most to making Europe more innovative. Cities foster innovation in their own provision of services, but the key is to create the right environment for others to innovate and to allow the public and private spheres to connect. An independent panel of experts will select the winner in spring 2014, with the city chosen receiving €500000 towards scaling up its efforts. The deadline for applications is 3 December 2013.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: “Cities are the engines of the European economy. Seven out of 10 Europeans live in an urban area, and these regions generate two thirds of EU GDP. We want to encourage cities to raise their game when it comes to innovation, and create a network of cities which can share their best ideas for the future.” Continue reading “European Commission seeks “Capital of Innovation””

If Erasmus had a Trailer…

“If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen”

Desiderius Erasmus

As a former Erasmus student, I was moved to see this trailer-like video talking about the Erasmus project. It’s a short video for the Welcome at the Introduction Meeting of ESN Dortmund. The video got over 10K views in less than a day.

The material has been collected by the author over the last three years from his Erasmus in 2010 until now. Quoting from the author, “there are so many wonderful moments and people that any video cannot do justice to the beauty of an Erasmus exchange.”

This reminds me of the amazing year I had in Antwerp where I first discovered Belgium, Flanders and grew a strong interest for the European Union. It was definitely one of the greatest experiences of my life and it widely contributed to building my European identity. Thanks to Erasmus and thanks to all the beautiful people I met there.

More about the Erasmus project

Il y a… un “truc” européen


For those living, working and jogging in the realm of European public affairs, it is well known how Eurobubblers basically create their own dimension and try to differentiate themselves from the outer world (the actual Bruxellois). Everyone here in BXL is super qualified with Masters Degrees or PhDs, everyone speaks 5-6 languages (apart from the Brits and the French) and everyone has a fairly similar background around politics, economics and law etc…The profile that Lisa displays in one the episode of the Eurobubble actually sums it up quite nicely: ” Half German, half French. Born in Indonesia. Politics at Sciences Po, LSE Master, internship at the European Commission and 1 year in Bruges”

Brussels is a place where people don’t go to to live. People go to Brussels to work. People from all over Europe, and the rest of the world, would move to London, Paris, Barcelona or Rome because these are awesome places to be in and expats in this cities would do whatever job in order to stay there.

Brussels is exactly the opposite. People, especially young people, don’t move to the Belgian capital because they are in love with Art Nouveau and  mussels with fries. They move to Brussels because of work and almost always their work is related to European affairs. You go out for a beer and end up talking about the euro crisis. You go for a jog in the park and meet policy-makers talking about treaty reforms. You go play football in Parc du Cinquentanaire and you meet EC stagiares. See what happens for instance when you go to Place du Luxembourg

But how do the Bruxellois perceive this? Is Brussels’ autoctonous population affected by the bubble? Continue reading “Il y a… un “truc” européen”