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Social media communication by the Heads of State or Government in the European Council: a comprehensive analysis of EU Leaders’ discourse on Europe via Twitter

07-01-2021

Over recent years, the members of the European Council have, in a number of landmark declarations such as the Bratislava Declaration, pointed to the need to improve communication with citizens, as part of the process of building greater trust and confidence in the European Union and its institutions. As social media, and notably Twitter, have become an important part of politicians' communication strategy generally, this study looks specifically at how EU leaders in the European Council communicate ...

Over recent years, the members of the European Council have, in a number of landmark declarations such as the Bratislava Declaration, pointed to the need to improve communication with citizens, as part of the process of building greater trust and confidence in the European Union and its institutions. As social media, and notably Twitter, have become an important part of politicians' communication strategy generally, this study looks specifically at how EU leaders in the European Council communicate on Europe via Twitter. This EPRS study explores provides an overview of the activity on Twitter of all members of the European Council over an 18-month period – in just over 31 000 tweets posted between January 2019 and June 2020 – covering a very wide range of issues. The study identifies the European topics that EU-27 leaders tweet about – their own interactions, external relations and the EU budget – and it explores the ways in which they communicate and engage with their target audiences, as well as pointing to differences of approach between them. EU-related tweets represent on average about a fifth of all EU leaders' tweets, with a greater emphasis on meetings as such than on substantive policy issues.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders on 10 and 11 December 2020

15-12-2020

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved ...

On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 December 2020, the European Council agreed on clarifications to the rule-of-law conditionality mechanism, which pave the way for the adoption of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery fund. The language used by EU leaders in their conclusions satisfied all actors involved, and avoided triggering renegotiation of the compromise reached between the co-legislators on the proposed regulation on rule-of-law conditionality. EU leaders also achieved a significant breakthrough in combating climate change, by committing to a binding EU reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 55 % by 2030. Moreover, the European Council discussed the development, purchase and the EU-wide distribution of effective vaccines against Covid-19 and stressed the need to take forward proposals for a health union. EU leaders also agreed to step up the fight against radicalisation, terrorism and violent extremism.

Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 10-11 December 2020

09-12-2020

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey ...

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey. Two crucial issues, which are not on the formal agenda but could dominate discussions, are rule-of-law conditionality for the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU-UK negotiations. EU leaders are also expected to appoint a new member of the European Central Bank's executive board. The Euro Summit on 11 December will focus on the revision of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty and on progress towards a banking union.

Key issues in the European Council: State of play in December 2020

09-12-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 19 November 2020

24-11-2020

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators ...

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators from the Council and the European Parliament on the issue of rule-of-law conditionality, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are currently not able to support it. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, indicated that discussions to find an acceptable solution for all would continue. The exchange of information on the coronavirus pandemic focused in particular on the development of vaccines, ensuring that they would be available and affordable to all EU citizens, and on the coordination of the exit from the second-wave restrictions. The European Council agreed once more to further strengthen coordination of action against the coronavirus pandemic.

Outcome of the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020

19-10-2020

Without reaching any new decisions, the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020 addressed a series of important issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, EU-United Kingdom relations and climate change. It also discussed numerous external relations issues, notably relations with Africa, the EU's southern neighbourhood, Belarus and Turkey. In the context of rising Covid-19 infections across all Member States, the European Council expressed its very serious concern about the developing pandemic ...

Without reaching any new decisions, the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020 addressed a series of important issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, EU-United Kingdom relations and climate change. It also discussed numerous external relations issues, notably relations with Africa, the EU's southern neighbourhood, Belarus and Turkey. In the context of rising Covid-19 infections across all Member States, the European Council expressed its very serious concern about the developing pandemic situation and agreed to intensify overall coordination at EU level and between Member States. Regarding the negotiations on future EU-UK relations, EU leaders expressed their concern about the lack of progress and called on the UK to make the necessary moves. They stressed that the Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocols needed to be implemented in a full and timely manner.

Key issues in the European Council: State of play in October 2020

15-10-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Current membership of the European Council

13-10-2020

The European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their most recent European political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. Images taken

The European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their most recent European political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. Images taken

Outlook for the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020

09-10-2020

Only two weeks after the last European Council meeting, EU Heads of State or Government gather again on 15-16 October 2020, to address future EU-UK relations, EU-Africa relations and climate change. On climate, EU leaders will evaluate the progress on the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and hold an orientation debate. Regarding EU-UK relations, they will assess the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, receive an update on the negotiations on the future EU-UK partnership and discuss ...

Only two weeks after the last European Council meeting, EU Heads of State or Government gather again on 15-16 October 2020, to address future EU-UK relations, EU-Africa relations and climate change. On climate, EU leaders will evaluate the progress on the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and hold an orientation debate. Regarding EU-UK relations, they will assess the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, receive an update on the negotiations on the future EU-UK partnership and discuss the preparatory work for all scenarios after 1 January 2021. In addition to EU-Africa relations, other external relations issues are likely to be discussed, notably the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. EU leaders will also return to the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

European Council Leaders' Agenda 2020-21

05-10-2020

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, presented a new Leaders’ Agenda outlining his view of ‘the key challenges confronting the Union’ and setting a timetable for the Heads of State or Government to address these issues at meetings between October 2020 and June 2021. The new Leaders’ Agenda puts strong focus on the ‘green transition and digital transformation’, as well as on ‘Europe’s role in the world’, two core priorities ...

At the special European Council meeting of 1-2 October 2020, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, presented a new Leaders’ Agenda outlining his view of ‘the key challenges confronting the Union’ and setting a timetable for the Heads of State or Government to address these issues at meetings between October 2020 and June 2021. The new Leaders’ Agenda puts strong focus on the ‘green transition and digital transformation’, as well as on ‘Europe’s role in the world’, two core priorities in the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-24. Mr Michel intends to structure the approach to external relations discussions, notably through a series of strategic debates on relations with key partners. A number of EU priority topics are however missing, notably migration, the rule of law and the Conference on the Future of Europe. Mr Michel has, however, stated that the Leaders’ Agenda is a flexible tool, which can be updated as circumstances require.

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