The majority of tweets on the Strategic Agenda were issued between April and July 2019. This was to be expected, as numerous European Council meetings in that period dealt with the EU’s five-year priorities, which were in turn connected to issues such as the ‘Future of Europe’ and the ‘top jobs’ package. After the adoption of the Strategic Agenda in June 2019, leaders’ tweets on this issue rapidly decreased and many of the tweets afterwards referred to the European agenda rather than the Strategic Agenda specifically. A concentration of tweets was to be expected around the adoption of the document, but, as this strategy is supposed to guide the work of the EU over the next five year period, it is surprising to see how quickly it became ‘yesterday’s news’.
Future of Europe
The timeline of tweets on the Future of Europe debate shows a significant concentration in the first half of 2019. First, there were the final interventions of EU Heads of State or Government during plenary debates on the Future of Europe in the European Parliament. The peak between April and May 2019 can be explained by the elections to the European Parliament in May and the Sibiu Summit on 9 May, which produced a declaration. June and July still saw some tweets on the Future of Europe in connection with the adoption of the Strategic Agenda and the negotiation on the ‘top jobs’ package. During the rest of the period, the number of tweets on the subject of the Future of Europe was rather low, with the exception of January-February 2020, when some EU leaders tweeted on the Conference on the Future of Europe. This tends to show that the ‘Future of Europe’ is not in itself a topic on which EU Heads of State or Government are inclined to tweet, but rather that they do so only when other EU institutions (Parliament and Commission), or actors (think thanks), create occasions for the topic to be addressed.
EU ‘top jobs’ package
Like tweets on the Strategic Agenda, tweets on the EU ‘top jobs’ package were clearly related to an event, the nomination of the EU’s next institutional leadership. Tweets on ‘EU top jobs’ were almost exclusively issued between April and August 2019. Between September and November 2019, a few more tweets continued, due to the Commissioner hearings held in the European Parliament, but afterwards this issue also disappeared from the tweets of EU leaders.
Figure 21 – Average tweets on institutional and cross-cutting issues, January 2019-June 2020
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