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Framing the Future of Europe Debates on Twitter: The Personalisation of EU Politicisation in the 2019 EU Election Campaigns

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Tracing the Politicisation of the EU

Abstract

This chapter analyses the role of the European Commission President, national leaders, and transnational parties in setting the agenda of the 2019 European election campaigns. In particular, it discusses whether the personalisation of European politics is contributing to the transnational and national politicisation of the EU. It does so by analysing the impact and resonance of three national leaders’, Emmanuel Macron (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), and Pedro Sánchez (Spain), speeches on the transnational Future of Europe debate by combining qualitative (national leaders’ speeches and political party manifestos for the 2019) and quantitative sources (the impact of the speeches in the pan-European Twittersphere). The chapter conceives social media as a new kind of intermediary political communication sphere where specific but substantial communication exchanges happen. The results provide mixed confirmation for expectations about the personalisation of the debate. Whereas there is a clear intergovernmental focus on the best-known leaders (Merkel and Macron), this contrasts with the absence of personalisation of the conversations ahead of the 2019 elections as neither the national leaders nor the Spitzenkandidaten are central in the discussions.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For an analysis of the European Commission’s communication strategy changes, see Soldevila and Vander Meulen’s chapter in this book.

  2. 2.

    See in particular Butnaru-Troncotă and Ionita's chapter.

  3. 3.

    See Bouza and Oleart’s chapter in this volume.

  4. 4.

    Gephi is an open-source network analysis and visualization software, and its streaming app allows to collect tweets in real time that include a search keyword. In our case the search keywords were the national leader's name as a hashtag (e.g. #Merkel) and any of the terms (#EPplenary; #FutureofEurope; #Strasbourg; #Parliament), whereas for the EP election campaign the research we collected all tweets in English that included the EPelection2019 search words.

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Bouza García, L., Tuñón Navarro, J. (2022). Framing the Future of Europe Debates on Twitter: The Personalisation of EU Politicisation in the 2019 EU Election Campaigns. In: Haapala, T., Oleart, Á. (eds) Tracing the Politicisation of the EU. Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82700-7_8

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