Posts tagged ‘blogs’

Mapping the Euroblogosphere: what are the must-read EU political blogs?

Difficult question, one to which we would be tempted to answer: all of them. But as that wouldn’t be of much help, we’ve had a go at making our own selection of the must-read EU political blogs, also known as Euroblogs.

Inspired by previous attempts such as those of NoseMonkey, Jon Worth, the Bloggingportal and Lobby Planet, we’ve created Fleishman-Hillard’s own selection of Euroblogs in our brand new Netvibes page here, for anyone to follow with ease if you don’t do so already. Netvibes is a time-saving tool that allows you to see on one single web page the headlines of all your favourite websites.

We have chosen to classify the blogs in the following categories: journalists, citizens -blogs whose authors write in their personal capacity-, EU officials, Commissioners, MEPs, corporate, and collectively written blogs – including NGOs, think tanks and political parties. As Steffen explained last week, in the current state of the EU blogosphere there are not yet quite enough EU political blogs to make a classification by policy sector, but hopefully this is changing and we’ll soon be able to develop a parallel policy dashboard.

Beyond the author categories we have selected 10 must-read Euroblogs. What are the must-read Euroblogs? The longest-standing? The most read? The most quoted? The most controversial? The most productive? The English-speaking ones? Well, there is no magic formula. Our selection is a combination of objective criteria and insider knowledge of the blogging community. It’s a selection of some of the most emblematic Euroblogs.

Finally, in our selection of top EU political blogs, we have added the feeds of Bloggingportal and Blogactiv. The Bloggingportal’s team of volunteer editors selects the best EU-related blog posts amongst over 600 blogs. You can also subscribe by email to Bloggingportal’s weekly digest here. Taking a look at the articles posted on the blogging platform Blogactiv can also give you an indication of what the trending topics in the EU blogosphere are.

This Euroblog selection will evolve with time for two main reasons:

In short, this is work in progress so feel free to suggest edits or additions! We hope you will find it useful and that it will help you get more familiar with the Euroblogging community.


July 12, 2010 at 7:44 pm 9 comments

Do MEPs tweet, blog and Facebook? We find out.

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Today we launch the results of our European Parliament Digital Trends Survey – It examines how Members of the European Parliament are using the internet to communicate with their voters as well as how the same MEPs use the internet to inform their daily legislative work. As such, we hope that the results are interesting both for MEPs and for Brussels public affairs practitioners.

In summary MEPs are using the internet to communicate to voters but are not yet for the most part using all the tools available. No doubt MEPs have come a long way since the last elections, but there is still a road to travel.

For public affairs practitioners we believe that our results support the view we espoused when we started this blog 2 years ago. Like all of us MEPs are going online for information to inform their decisions. To be effective, our public affairs strategies need to integrate digital communications into their toolbox of tactics. Digital can not replace traditional tools such as contact programmes and media relations it complements them, rendering our activities more effective.

On the microsite you will find the following:

  • Our main results with supporting statistics
  • An e-brochure
  • A full report
  • A library of downloads, including graphs and the raw data for you to make your own analysis and graphs
  • Commentary from MEPs
  • An opportunity for you to post your own thoughts
  • The charities we supported in conducting the research
  • The methodology we used – sample size etc.

In the coming days we shall be taking time to reflect on what the different parts of our results mean for public affairs practitioners in Brussels on this blog.

Thanks to all MEPs who participated and to the hardworking FH team who made it all possible (everyone in the office played some role but in particular I’d like to thank Mike, Reg, Veronique, Liliana, Julie, Carey, Aurelie, Tim, Michele, Jay, Clara and Rosie)

We look forward to your reactions to the results on the microsite and to having a debate on this blog about what our survey says about digital public affairs.


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May 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm 2 comments

Welcome, The Lobby

We welcome another public affairs agency into the blogging world; Grayling EU has launched ‘The Lobby‘.

While possibly mistaken for the title of  John Grisham‘s next book (if only Brussels were so exciting), we eagerly await The Lobby’s contributions to the Brussels Blog-Bubble.

May 11, 2009 at 9:49 am 1 comment

2009: A European Odyssey (into French online media)

French Europhiles always complain that the media never report anything (positive) about the European Union. In Le Point this week, the Chief Editor argues that ” it is a well-known fact in press circles: put the word ‘Europe’ on first page or on a TV debate and you will only make readers and viewers change page or channel”.

It tends to be true most of the time. Of course, you can read once a month about Sarkozy’s reactions to the last European Council or about ‘Brussels’ ruining the business of French fishermen or farmers. But you will find it difficult to read any quality article about the Telecoms Package or the Energy liberalisation Package, although both sets of measures contain real improvements for French consumers.

However, I found out recently that the online media coverage of the European elections campaign is quite interesting. The debate even tries to go beyond Franco-French issues. I’ve read good – and sometimes funny – things about Libertas in Ireland, Berlusconi’s choices of candidates and details on the status of the campaign in several Member States.

The Internet is blooming with articles on the EU: Le Figaro has a specific ‘European elections’ section, Le Monde provides readers with lots of interesting portfolios and interactive maps. Libération gives original points of view through a specific blog on European elections and Quatremer’s famous Coulisses de Bruxelles.

Even political parties are very active on the Internet to provide attractive information. UMP and PS both have specific websites dedicated to European elections. Although I am sceptical about their slogan – “When Europe wants, Europe can”- the UMP website features a ‘Europe TV 2009’ which is quite nice and easy to navigate. Although less visually attractive, the PS website gives a lot of background information on the Socialist programme and features a list of relevant Twitter feeds.

A good starting point to navigate all these websites could be the newly updated map of ‘the European web’ set up by Touteleurope. It is quite an impressive map that registers 2046 French websites and blogs dealing with EU issues on a regular basis.

For once, no citizen will be able to argue that he was not well informed… A question remains: will it change anything to the fact that the French have always used the European elections to sanction the government in power?


May 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm 1 comment

Understanding the digital lives of MEPs

Eagle-eyed colleagues have spotted that French daily Le Monde cited this blog as a source in its profile of MEPs and what they do.

Well, some good news for those of you who want to know more about the digital lives of our European Parliamentarians. Fleishman-Hillard Brussels is currently engaged in surveying the digital lives of Members of the European Parliament. The audit is seeking to establish how far, and to what effect, MEPs in this Parliament are using the internet in communicating to the outside world in the run up to the elections and in informing their own views on policy issues in their daily working lives.

We shall be looking at everything from how many of them intend to use Twitter to reach out to voters, to how often their offices say they use Wikipedia to look stuff up. We are hoping that the results will be of interest both to MEPs themselves and to all those who are interested by MEPs – like us.

We hope to have the results of our research ready for public consumption in mid-May, at which stage they shall be made available on a dedicated micro-site.

If you are interested in learning more in advance of the official launch, drop us a line at the address below:

epdigitaltrends at fleishmaneurope dot com

We shall be keeping everyone informed through this blog and our twitter feed over the next couple of weeks.


April 24, 2009 at 11:03 am 1 comment

Reading blogs in Congress

Check out the FH Global Public Affairs blog to read about the importance of having a voice online if one wants to influence the policy process in the US Congress. The blog is full of useful information, such as the fact that “53% of congressional staffers are active blog readers.”

Though focused on the US congress, the lessons apply equally to the EU.

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November 13, 2008 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

Blog the news that’s fit to print

Our colleagues to the north Fleishman-Hillard Edinburgh hosted a lecture last week about the US Presidential elections and Obama vs. McCain. You can read about the event on FH’s Public Affairs Cloakroom blog and even see a short video of the remarks from Fleishman Hillard’s Bill Black; former UK Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer, currently a member of FH’s International Advisory Board; and the Right Honourable George Reid, former MP, MSP and Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

One question caught my attention. A long-term Edinburgh resident and US citizen asked the panel what sources a person could read to inform themselves about the candidates without relying on the daily churn of media reports. Bill immediately recommended blogs, noting that many bloggers eschew the claimed objectivity of newspapers, but offer much more depth and often a historical knowledge. His list of blogs to read is:

You can listen to Bill here as well.

October 7, 2008 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

And then there were six…

It seems only fair that we mention the launch of the blog of Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Energy, today. He joins Dimas, Potocnik, Wallstrom, Spidla and Fischer Boel as Commissioners that are seeking to reach out to “internauts”(Euro-speak or just French in an English press release?).

With all the good material on energy policy out there, perhaps this Commissioner will have something interesting to say. As one post every Friday is all that is promised, it may take a few months before we see. He clearly does not have the “it’s late on Friday but I am putting off my timesheet entry until after a blog post” urges that we do. In any case if he does succeed, then perhaps Ruud Wassen in our Energy team will revise his list of favourite blogs in the field?

February 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm Leave a comment

Does blogging matter? The world has it say and we have ours

Earlier this week BBC World’s Have Your Say Forum chaired an interesting radio and online debate entitled; “Do political bloggers make a difference?” Certainly the comments in the forum represent a mixed bag. On the one hand we find the likes of Lamii Kpargoi, Coordinator for Initiative for Mobile Training of Community Radio in Liberia, who feel that blogs played an important role in drawing the attention of the world to “the situation in [Liberia] during the tyranny of Charles Taylor.” But on the other hand we come across Dwight, who explains that “As much as I hate to admit it, political bloggers rarely make a difference. I have no illusions that my blog is changing any opinions. The people who agree with me occasionally write and tell me, “I agree”. The people who don’t agree, rarely get past the opening paragraph before they move on.”

Relating this to Brussels, the influence of blogs is one question we are increasingly having amongst ourselves and with others. There are a number of points that we keep coming back to that we thought might be worth sharing:

1. Blogs are helping to shape the communications environment in which work

Data from the likes of Ipsos MORI suggests that 1 in 5 Europeans are indeed reading blogs (Italy apparently comes top with 27% of Italians having read blogs). And while we have (currently) no data to quantify the numbers of policymakers, stakeholders and political media in Brussels reading blogs on a daily basis, if such actors reflect the population then blogs as a form of communication could be influential in shaping the debate around issues in the future. The number of journalists, Commissioners and MEPs that are blogging themselves would suggest that there at least some of the same are reading blogs. (Yes, we know, we need “facts, only facts” in terms of the levels of such readership. We are working on it.)

2. Blogs can be used to amplify your message

Monitoring blogs will of course only tell you what’s going on, not what to do about it. However, it has already struck us (and thankfully some of the people we work with) that in some cases bloggers focused on specific issues of relevance to the policy debate may be fertile ground for what is known as “Online Editorial Outreach” for public affairs purposes. It’s the online equivalent of media relations with some subtle but important differences. Bloggers of course are not journalists…and there are some best practices we have developed as a company that take this into account.

In any case, seeking out expert bloggers, often with decent day jobs, that can amplify an organisation’s message online could prove useful in a public affairs context where policymakers and those that influence them go online to find information and insights. Noise in the blogosphere may become as much a part of the mood music to policy debates in Brussels as articles in the FT. Is it going to change a vote, probably no. Is it going to help make people more receptive to a message, perhaps yes.

3. Blogger influence is more likely to be about quality rather than quantity

When thinking about monitoring or indeed outreach, it’s the quality of the bloggers and their posts that is important rather than the sheer numbers of readers. Who are they, what do they know, how often do they post, who comments and who links to them? All questions to ask. On some of the obscure EU issues we love, the numbers are not likely to be great but the influence may be.

To conclude on the BBC World piece, the advent of the blog does not mean the end of BBC correspondents like John Simpson covertly walking the streets of Africa canvassing opinion. However, his back story may equally come from what has been written by Africans on their own blogs. This of course happened in the case of Burma recently, where the only outlet for many of the individuals involved in the crisis was their blogs. News came out through people involved on the ground and was relayed through the long tail of social media.

In all communications activities, whether you are the Director General of the BBC or the public affairs practitioner in Brussels, the online environment (blogs included) have an important role to play in how people are communicating with each other. It would be remiss of us not to take them into account in what we do.

January 16, 2008 at 5:25 pm 1 comment

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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at

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