Analytics and Insights, European Parliament, European Union

The European Parliament this week

With the Greece/Eurozone situation reaching the brink, I decided to take a look at what’s been happening over the past week within the European Parliament domain.

Some takeaways after I extracted the top people and issues:

  1. The Eurozone, Yellen’s decision to be patient with the Fed and housing markets are interlinked (not a surprise), indicating US businesses should be mindful of the Greek debt restructuring. This has affected foreign exchange markets and the domestic retail sector a bit.
  2. Outside of global finance and the Greek debt restructuring, the European Parliament’s decision to back new limits for food based bio-fuels was the most embedded policy instance. Thomas Nagy, EVP at Novozymes and the most central person to the policy, had this to say: “A stable and effective framework is the only way forward to secure commercial deployment”.
  3. Climate change and carbon trading (to be reformed in 2018) were most central to the new policy, as well as the EU plans to merge energy markets, which ALDE feels “will be a nightmare for Putin” and weaken Russian grip on Europe’s energy needs.
The top people extract from the online conversation. Out side of global finance and the Greek debt restructuring, the EP decision to back new limits for food based biofuels was the most embedded policy instance over the last week.

The people extracted from the European Parliament domain over the last week. Size of node represents degree. The amount of connections a node has to other illustrates how embedded an entity is within a domain.

The bar chart below shows which topics within the European Parliament domain are associated with each person. The people are represented by the colors from the network graph above. It’s in hierarchical form based on centrality (to the European Parliament).

Topics that are most central to the European Parliament over the past week

Something to be cognizant of: Data Protection

While the issues are on the edge of EU affairs, as indicated at the top left and bottom right of the network graph below (highlighted in the teal green and dark red), data issues are becoming embedded within the broader scope of the EU Parliament.  Note that the range is across network centrality. This indicates that policies will have to be negotiated within a multitude of domains.

Topics associated with Data and the European Parliament

Stewart Room, a partner at PwC Legal, warns “businesses that are waiting for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) before taking action have already missed the boat.” I agree. Companies will need to be cognizant of the European Union’s penchant to regulate data and technology, often before understanding it.

Multi-sector coalitions have to be built. Framing legislation within global policy that is both considerate to business efficiency, yet empathetic to consumer concerns for privacy, could help avoid the backlash that ACTA and SOPA felt.  Data means too much to business. If not addressed in a thoughtful way, it could end up being the Trojan horse to TTIP and TPP and push those negotiations, and therefore economies, backwards.

Isn’t it cool how we can mine and extrapolate information from open source data for strategic intelligence? Much more contextual than Googling everything. Also it illustrates just how interlinked the world has become.


Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Global Politics, Insights, Lobbying, Politics, Public Affairs and Communications, Social Media, U.S. Politics

Breakdown of TTIP and TAFTA

TTIP/TAFTA is a true game changer for both the EU and US in terms of economic value, especially in a time of crisis for the EU.  To find out exactly what content people consumed and analyze policy trends, we mined the web (big data). At the moment TTIP/TAFTA  is not being met without issues – as we all know in Brussels – #NSAGate, data privacy and IP are slowing down negotiations (we’re looking at you France), and this is generally what the data had to say as well.

Over view: 5,505 mentions of  TTIP/TAFTA in the last 100 days – too large of number for business and institutions to ignore. In short you need to join the conversation if you have something to say about it ASAP (indecision is a decision).

Overview of the last 100 days amplitude.

Overview of the last 100 days amplitude.

The biggest uptick – a total of 300 mentions – came when Obama spoke at the G-8 summit in Ireland on June 17th when trade talks began. The key theme at this time was the potential boost in the economy. The official press release is here.

“The London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research estimates a pact – to be known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – could boost the EU economy by 119 billion euros (101.2 billion pounds) a year, and the U.S. economy by 95 billion euros.However, a report commissioned by Germany’s non-profit Bertelsmann Foundation and published on Monday, said the United States may benefit more than Europe. A deal could increase GDP per capita in the United States by 13 percent over the long term but by only 5 percent on average for the European Union, the study found.”

Given that there is conflicting information we wanted to see whose idea and data wins out – the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) or Bertelsmann Foundation (BF)? To do this we looked to see which study was referenced most. The chart below shows the mentions of each organization within the TTIP/TAFTA conversation over the last 100 days. The Center for Economic Policy Research is in orange and the Bertelsmann Foundation is in green.

Research cited most for TAFTA and TTIP

In total both studies were cited almost the same amount:

  • Centre for Economic Policy Research: 80 Mentions
  • Bertelsmann Foundation: 83 mentions
  • Both organizations were mentioned together 53 Times.

More recently though the trend seems to show that the Economic Policy Research is being cited most in the last 30 days, including a large uptick on July 8th. This is mainly due to the market share of the sources being located more in the US and the US wanting to get a deal done faster than the more hesitant Europeans. Keep in mind the CEP claims larger benefits of TAFTA/TTIP than the BF study.

Locations of the Center for Economic Policy Research and the Bertelsmann Foundation. Very diverse and more equal location market share.

Locations of the Center for Economic Policy Research and the Bertelsmann Foundation in the last 30 days: Notice the location marketshare is less diverse and dominated by the USA.

Where are the mentions?

  • The  US had 2,743 mentions (49% overall)
  • All of Europe combined total was 1,986 (36% overall)


Of the topics ACTA is still being talked about with, IP and Data Protection top the list. This is not surprising given France’s reluctance to be agreeable because of the former and #prism, so below are those themes plotted.

Breakdown and trend graph of Topics surrounding TTIP TAFTA

Breakdown and trend graph of Topics surrounding TTIP TAFTA

The top stories on Twitter are in the table below. It’s not surprising that the White House is number one, but where are the EU institutions and media on this?

Top Stories Tweets Retweets All Tweets Impressions
White House 37 15 52 197738
Huff Post  26 0 26 54419
Forbes  23 0 23 1950786
JD Supra 15 2 17 42304
Wilson Center  12 7 19 72424
Facebook 12 0 12 910
Italia Futura 8 0 8 16640
BFNA 7 0 7 40246 7 13 20 69356
Slate  7 0 7 13927

Everybody knows the battle for hearts and minds of people starts with a good acronym so I broke down the market share between TTIP (165) and TAFTA (2197):

Acronym Market Share: TTIP V TAFTA

I may add more in the coming days but those are a few simple bits of info for now.  Nonetheless if you want to join the conversation on Twitter the top hashtags are below.

Top Hashtags for the TTIP and TAFTA debate

Top Hashtags for the TTIP and TAFTA debate

Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Global Politics, Insights, Politics, Social Media

A Quick look at 20,000 Tweets about the EU

From October 25 -> December 4th there were 20,022 Tweets Containing the words European Union, European Parliament and European Commission. This means tweets were quite specific and could not be mistaken for anything else, further of course the majority of posts were in English, although more than 30 languages were represented. Many of the quick findings reinforce numerous Social Network Analysis studies which show that most network opinions and frames are controlled by a minority of people – between 10-20% i.e.  elite level. Social media, despite a lot of hype, has not changed this.


The context surrounding these 20K Tweets

  • Were produced by 13,832 accounts
  • Retweets made up 28% of all Tweets
  • The Top 18 Tweets – in terms of most retweeted, made up 9% of all tweets
  • Top 18 Tweets that made up 9% of all tweets were made by 11 accounts
  • The most visible and retweeted Tweet was a coalition with FC Barcelona (below) – ( This leaves me to question why are there not more collaborations between the public and private sector in the EU?)


Top Accounts from Top 18 Tweets:

  • Wikileaks – 6 Tweets in Top 18 (33%)
  • Economist – 2 tweets in top 18 (11%)

Top Users commenting on the Euro. UKIP is seems to be taking a proactive approach to framing it’s primary fodder against the EU (the Euro Crisis).

  • @UKIP 32
  • @YanniKouts 23
  • @lindayueh 18
  • @AssangeC 9
  • @LSEpublicevents 8
Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, Global Politics, Insights, Linguistics, Lobbying

Your next firm should be an IT firm.

I’ve interviewed with them all. The big firms, the small firms. Both in Brussels and in New York.

After working in the European Commission and Parliament, I wanted to go to the private side of Communications and Policy. The problem? I had been running data and insights. Using terms like NLPSentiment analysis, cognitive science and connotation mapping to describe what I did not work well. On the other hand dumbing down would leave me looking like another 27 year old who does “the social media” and or “the internets”. Most firms doing the interview for analytics positions wanted to hear “pivot table”, “engagement”, “influence” and maybe SPSS. Upping the hierarchy on those terms to explain why “something was” appeared unnecessary and impractical since explaining this to a clients communications director is another task with in itself.

So to hell with the PA/PR firms, I joined an IT firm that also does communications – Intrasoft International, and could not be happier.  The people’s skill sets are well defined and paid, which gives them a certain confidence in contrast. They like things such as analytics and completely understand them. Their only fault is the soft side of Communications – which is now my job to merge.

IT is going to take over communications sooner than later. Current  PR firms will be left scrambling. The lack of investment in the deeper meaning (abstract knowledge such as transference, retention and pragmatics) will start to show as data/connotation mining becomes a standard practice. Most IT firms already have this infrastructure in place via their AI departments.

There will be a point where dropping shit jargon is irrelevant and companies Comm Director, who should be more of a CIO/CTO in the nearer future, will see right though it.

My 2 cents. Also check out my presentation at


Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament

German EPP MEP Disconnect

Regional online media engagement  for  German and French EPP MEP’s:  The chart clearly illustrates Germany is not engaged with their European Parliament representation, or better, the MEPs are clearly not in touch with their constituents. Can someone say democratic deficit?

•64% of German EPP MEP media is coming from Germany.
•84% of commented media on German MEP’s is from France.
•Germany only accounts for only 10% of comments of  it’s MEPs.
•Germany  does not comment on  French EPP MEPs (0%).
•French EPP MEP comments are from the USA and France (both 48%) and Belgium at 2%.
Analytics and Insights, Data Science, Global Politics

Analytics and the Global Political Environment

In the global political environment a holistic view is needed.

The standard for message delivery is high in the modern media environments. It’s vital to create communications that people identify and empathize with. The threshold to get attention, and to get people to retain your information, is even higher. Politics now competes with Pepsi, Nike and Apple. No one will take time to care about your views or propositions. Firms must be proactive in both controlling and framing language, as well as marginalizing their communication and political strategy for efficiency.

The problem: There are many variables to consider when developing productive communication and political strategies. Further, basing decisions on just educated guessing, even for the most highly skilled and experienced  professional, does not meet the standards of modern business practices, which use analytics to make decisions.

The Solution: Online media provides an immense amount of information which can be monitored. The data can be used  to track political and policy instances qualitatively, as well as forecast.

To do this, we must synthesize research in cognitive linguistics and Natural Language Processing (NLP). In the last few years these technologies have evolved to the point where pragmatics can be quantified accurately. And further, because of the amount of data an average person creates in a day, we have and endless amount of information to drill down into for examining political and cultural phenomenon.

I’m currently looking at the French elections. There will be more on that and this in a bit.

Analytics and Insights, Data Science, Global Politics, Insights

Twitter and it’s Correlation to Facebook and Media Comments: GOP Primaries

The Chart shows the correlation of Media comments and Facebook posts, in reaction to Twitter output , in regards to GOP primary Candidates. It’s no surprise there is a downward trend for Facebook. The two channels tend to be segregated politically. Twitter being more conservative and Facebook being more liberal.