in European Parliament, Politics, Social media, Social network analysis, Twitter

Members of the European Parliament — Twittersphere and communities

Welcome to the 3rd episode of our MEPs’ connections series. It the first two episodes (you can read them here), we analyzed the Greek, the French, the Polish, the Italian and the Danish communities.
In this third one we will focus on the Spanish, the Dutch and the Swedish ones.

If you’ve read the first two posts, you probably already know our methodology.

If you are new to the topic, here is in brief:

– We are Elif Lab, a data company that provides analyses on politics and institutions, and we are working on a project called ThinkingAbout.EU that analyzes various data coming from the European institutions.

– We collected a list of 643 Twitter accounts of the Members of the European Parliament (available on our Github) and decided to study who they follow.
Among these accounts we took the first 8000 ones MEPs follow the most and on this network we applied the Louvain algorithm that helps us discover “hidden” communities (a community is a group of accounts with a density of connections higher than the average; the most followed account by the other members of the community is considered the most central one).

– We noticed that the MEPs tend to follow accounts from their country and in many cases 2 MEPs from the same country have more accounts in common than 2 MEPs from different countries. This results in nation-based communities emerging from the network analysis.


Spanish MEPs — Twitter Community

The Spanish community is generated by the connections of 42 Spanish MEPs.

The most popular account is the one of Ignacio Escolar (@iescolar), founder and director of the newspaper
Among top 30 most followed accounts, we also find other periodistas (journalists), especially EU correspondents: Antonio Delgado (@adelgadoRne) correspondent for RNE, Claudi Pérez (@claudiperez) for El Pais, Griselda Pastor (@grispastor) for Cadena Ser, Ana Pastor (@_anapastor_) (a super popular journalist with 1,85 millions of followers) and Julia Otero (@julia_otero) director of “Julia en la onda” on Radio Onda Cero.

Some of these media outlets are also in the top 30 with their official accounts: in addition to El Pais (@el_pais) and (@eldiarioes), there are also Diario Público (@publico_es) and the news agency EFE noticias (@EFEnoticias). News concerning the European Union are broadcasted by specialized tv show Europa on TVE (@Europa_TVE) and twitted by Jaume Duch (@jduch) European Parliament’s Spokesman and Director for Media, who ranks high in the list.

Focusing on national politicians, only two of them are in the most central accounts: former MEP and leader of Podemos Pablo Iglesias (@Pablo_Iglesias_) and Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) who recently lost the leadership of the Socialist Party.

President Juncker is here as well (@JunckerEU), but there is no other commissioner.
A former European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (also former Secretary General of NATO) is here anyway: Javier Solana (@javiersolana), now President at ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics.

Netherlands (and Belgium):

Dutch MEPs — Twitter Community

If you remember our first episode, some of the Belgians were part of the French community. Some of the others (11) are instead closer to the Dutch community (that emerges analyzing the connections of 23 Dutch MEPs).

This is a very EU-focused community.
Most popular news outlet is Politico Europe (@POLITICOEurope) (and many MEPs are still following the account of the absorbed @EuropeanVoiceEV as well) , but Euractiv is also there (@EurActiv), with EUobserver (@euobs) and Parliament Magazine (@Parlimag).
Into top 30 there are many journalists writing about European affairs like Carla Joosten (@ElsevierDenHaag) from the Elsevier, Tijn Sadée (@tijnsadee) correspondent for NRC, NOS and VPRO and Ryan Heath (@PoliticoRyan) from Politico Europe. With them we find Dutch political journalist Jaap Jansen (@JaapJansen).
Less specialized media outlets are also there: newspaper the Economist (@TheEconomist), late night talkshow Pauw (@pauwnl) and dutch newspaper de Volkskrant (@volkskrant).

The community is populated by European politicians: Donald Tusk (@eucopresident), Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU), Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU), Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog), Cecilia Malmström (@MalmstromEU).
In top 30, there is also place for Martin Selmayr (@MartinSelmayr) head of Cabinet of President Juncker, Jeroen Dijsselbloem (@J_Dijsselbloem) Eurogroup president and Neelie Kroes (@NeelieKroesEU) former vice-president of the EU commission, now board member at Salesforce and in the Uber advisory board.


Swedish MEPs — Twitter Community

The Swedish community is based on the accounts followed by 18 Swedish MEPs.

Political reporter Niklas Svensson (@niklassvensson) is the most central account. Among top accounts there are also political editor Patrik Oksanen (@patrikoksanen), Anders Pihlblad (@Pihlblad) from TV4 News, Margit Silberstein (@margitsilber) political reporter at Aktuellt.
Many media outlets are there. Among them, the most popular are Ekot (@sr_ekot), a news program on Swedish Radio, the opinion page of the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (@SvDDebatt), the opinion page of the Aftonbladet (@ABDebatt) and the official account of the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (@SvD).

Focusing on national politics, we find Maria Wetterstrand (@M_Wetterstrand), former spokesperson for the Swedish Green Party, Green MP Maria Ferm (@MariaFerm), the Minister of Enterprise Mikael Damberg (@mikaeldamberg) and the Liberal MP Birgitta Ohlsson (@birgittaohlsson).

Cecilia Malmström (@MalmstromEU), in charge of the European Trade policy, is the only commissioner in top 30.
No President Juncker in this community 🙂

We will come back soon with more communities. Give us your feedback 🙂

Willing to know more about methodology or complete results?
Contact us