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.

-CT

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Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Change Management, Corporate Culture, European Parliament, European Union

The EU: Hooking up with Technology

Jose is trying to learn how to get a date . There’s a conference at a local hotel on how to pick up women. On his way to the room, Jose’ encounters two doors. One  leads to the conference taught by men on how to pick up girls. The other door has a  sign that says “Successful single women’s conference. Please join us for a drink,  anyone is welcome”.  Jose chooses the first door as he had planned, and continues learning about how to pick up women. The EU relationship with using technology is  like Jose’s approach to trying to pick up women, hesitation and unwillingness to  adapt in real-time, to the peril of the end goal – i.e. institutional.

One day I was talking about online media monitoring to the  institutions “social media expert”.  I was asked  “why do we need to understand what people are saying about us?” I was shocked and had no answer except to point out Interest in the EU has gone down every year since 2004 http://ow.ly/8w2Gs. Specifically alarming was that the Parliament, which is supposed to be the extension of the people, had the lowest interest rate.

googletrends

Blue – European Union
Red – European Commission
Yellow – European Parliament

Now having worked in US politics,  a good place to start making a more legitimate government, is being more representative of constituents..and understanding what people are saying about you allows you to create better policies and messages that can help engage people, and perhaps increase the voting rates.

Both EU firms and institutions spend way too much time discussing what technology such as social media is, or what it means, but never act. For example Friends of Europe just released a paper about social media . Frankly I found it pointless, uninteresting, and six years too late.

In the globalized future hesitation is dead, improvisation is king, and competition will be fierce…

Thinking about the “social media experts” statement further, I concluded it wasn’t that  online monitoring wasn’t useful for their situation, but it’s use would have created a real-time approach. This is  the antithesis of institutional process Europe is way too familiar and comfortable with.  And incentive for the people working in the institutions wasn’t there either.

In the USA, competition has led to campaigns and politics becoming a  science. And voting rates + political involvement have gone up. 

The 2012 campaigns featured natural language processing, text mining, sentiment analysis, and data scientists. These technologies will marginalize every medium and word. There was  no room for “educated guessing”. This is efficient, saves time and  money, plus leaves the politicians to focus on empathizing more with the electorate. Forward to the EU. The system is not competitive. The money is provided by the public, and the European Commission is in charge of mobilizing people in a non-political way, which is inherently very, very difficult.

The future will embrace non-understanding, chaos and real-time data, you don’t get the luxury of writing a 10,000 word strategy paper. At present the EU mindset is not equipped to handle this transition. It  must remember if it wants to  hang out with future technology, it has to first quit talking, and ask it out on a date.

Ciao, CT

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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%.
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Brussels, European Parliament, European Union

Some Quick Thoughts About the EU

In the next 25 years I question how the EU will avoid marginalization between Asia and the US? The US is more dynamic and entrepreneurial. From Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook to Pinterest, the list goes on. There’s low investment cost for incorporation, 600% more skilled immigration, congruent legal and professional standards across all states, and 20% more productivity per worker/year. Asia has cheaper manufacturing, growing disposable income and a favourable investment climate. Both have higher patent rates and less labour/tax issues. Given the advances in technology and the higher gains conceivable by those who adopt faster, these facts can quickly become more pronounced.

So how will EU leadership plan to address these issues during political instability, and lack of leadership in the first place? Europeans need to realize the debate needs to be beyond national pride at this point.

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

European Parliament Leadership: Channel Marketshare


While it’s trendy for public affairs professionals talk about social media, Twitter and Blogs, it’s naïve to think these are the main channels for engagement when it come to European Parliament Party leadership. Online mainstream news simply dominates in comparison.  It sets the tone of the issue, gets the most comments, and is shared ,“Liked” and Voted on the most.

Diving back into market shares and what leader controls each medium. The chart above shows  just how dominate Martin Schulz (at the time leader of the S&D at the European Parliament. Schulz has now replaced Jerzey Buzek as it’s President) was in December. MS controlled just about every medium, as well as has the most comments.

Starting from the right we see Mainstream News percentages and how each leader stacks up:

  • Martin Schulz (MS)  63%,
  • Guy Verhofstadt (GV) 25%
  • Joseph Daul (JD) 12%

On the second box from the left “MS ind MS” shows the market share of the medium/channel, in this case mainstream, is being use by the Party Leader. Mainstream news made up 61% of Martin Schulz’s online media. Comparatively GV is at 44% and JD is 35%. In all cases main stream on-line news provides the most media and comments for all leaders. Over the past six months I’ve seen a rise in Twitter, which is by far the most equal platform, and also JD’s 2nd highest individual medium.

We can conclude two things from the prior chart:

  • MS is winning the online battle for media and engagement. He owns 94% of comments leaving only 4% to GV, and 3% to JD.
  • JD severely under performs given the EPP’s size and amount of money they have.

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Brussels, European Parliament, European Union, Lobbying, Public Affairs and Communications

The EU

Unfortunately the high cost of doing business – taxes, labour laws and questionable professional standards across all member states, threatens to marginalizes the EU between Asia and the US.

USA= Innovation, quick to adapt, dynamic work force, large integrated market.

Asia = Cheap labour, willingness to adapt, on the up and up.

The main issue is hesitation to adopt any new methods. In a knowledge economy such as the EU, liquidity of knowledge is a huge asset. None the less, as we see from the data debate, there are only worries and fears, no positives. This is partly Google and Facebook’s fault for not controlling the debate better, although with the cultural differences, I’m not sure it matters.

What ever side of the debate you are on, there is no way the Commission/Parliament will be able to regulate at the speed that such companies innovate and develop new technologies.

I liken it to a scenario:

Jose is trying to learn how to get a date. He decided to go to  a conference at a hotel that explains how to do this.  On his way to the room where the conference was being held, Jose encounters two doors.  One  leads to the conference  on how to pick up a date. The other door has a  sign that says “Successful single women’s conference. Please join us for a drink.  Anyone is welcome”.  Jose chooses the first door as he had planned, and continued learning and taking notes about how to get a date. The EU relationship with Technology is a lot like Jose’s approach to picking up a date, hesitant and unwilling to adapt in real-time, to the peril of the end goal.

In October I was giving a presentation about on-line media, trend, and sentiment analysis/monitoring to  institution officials. During the presentation I was  asked  “why do we need to understand what people are saying about us?” Admittedly  I was a bit shocked.  Interest in the EU has gone down every year since 2004 http://ow.ly/8w2Gs, as well as voting rates.  In my view  a  good place to start building a proper message that mobilizes people, is to  find out how people perceive and talk about you in the first place. Thinking about the institution officials statement further, I concluded the real issue wasn’t that that  online monitoring couldn’t be useful for their goals, but it  would have created a real-time approach, the antithesis of the  institutional process Europe is familiar with.  The incentive wasn’t there either.

In the globalized future hesitation is dead, improvisation is king, and competition will be fierce. Both EU firms and institutions spend too much time discussing what technologies such as social media mean or can do but never act. On the opposite,  competition is the USA led to elections becoming a  science. The 2012 campaigns will feature natural language processing, text mining, sentiment analysis, and data scientists. These technologies will marginalize every medium and word. There will be  no room for “educated guessing”. This is efficient and saves time and money. Further it may help  yield larger voter turnout as did the 2008 U.S. elections.  Forward to the EU. The system is not competitive. The money is provided by the public, and the European Commission  is in charge of getting  people to vote with a neutral message. And they are still having conferences  about what social media means.The future will embrace adaptability and change, you don’t get the luxury of writing a 10,000 word strategy paper, or a controlled institutional process, life and business  move too fast.  If the EU  is going to have a chance using technology to it’s full advantage , it must first take a shot, and ask it out on a date.

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Analytics and Insights, Data Science, Insights, Public Affairs and Communications

Active Communications

The idea of “Active Communications”  is based heavily on media monitoring listening data AND proper framing, which is a bit of an art (unless you have first class AI/NPL skills) . To work efficiently, a multi-channel infrastructure that allows for real-time content is paramount.

Important concepts to take away:

  • Timing and message coherency, to create a critical mass.
  • Trust the data for real time decision making.
  • Location based targeting with Fundamental,Technical and Sentiment analysis, per channel/medium.

Perhaps the biggest aspect is willingness to abandon prior methods after the data is received. You might be more comfortable with Twitter or another channel, but for the specific campaign it could be a  waste of time. Don’t fight up stream.

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