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Monique Goyens, the Director General of BEUC – the European Consumer Organisation – writes on some important priorities for Europe after the elections:

On 22-25 May, the full panoply of European politicians – from socialist to nationalist, green to conservative, liberal to independent and more – will ask Europeans for their vote.

There is a consensus that the complexion of the European Parliament will change significantly. The pursuit of the European Commission presidency is ongoing and keenly fought. But regardless of who takes the EU reins, they will have to oversee a large number of consumer laws of everyday relevance.

BEUC – the European Consumer Organisation – has written an Election Manifesto for those who will be in charge, flagging the foremost consumer interests in European policies.

These elections will be about (re)winning people’s attention and trust. If the EU wants to get closer to its citizens and lessen popular perceptions of it being distant, then it must consider consumers as integral to each of its initiatives.

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It has taken the European elections to finally give the digital agenda the political priority it deserves.

The three principal lead candidates for the European Commission presidency – Jean-Claude Juncker (European People’s Party), Martin Schulz (Party of European Socialists) and Guy Verhofstadt (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party) – are, in the words of Neelie Kroes“going crazy about digital”.

Yet just five short years ago, when Kroes was appointed Vice-President of the Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, many people – especially in her native Netherlands - were quick to criticise the role as a minor one in comparison to her former position as the mighty Competition Commissioner.

The reaction today will be much different, because there is no doubt that the digital agenda holds the key to a globally competitive economy and job creation.

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The 2014 European Parliament elections will be ground-breaking in many ways – not least for the widespread use of social media and ‘primary’ elections to select candidates.

In the Netherlands, a small yet noteworthy intra-party campaign is currently taking place between two sitting MEPs. Marietje Schaake (@MarietjeSchaake) and Sophie in ‘t Veld (@SophieintVeld) are well-known for their prolific use of Twitter. Both are also mounting digital-led campaigns to persude members of their progressive liberal party Democrats 66 (D66) to back them as head of the party’s list (lijsttrekker) for next May’s election.

So how are they getting on? We’ve used several digital analysis tools – including Twitonomy – to crunch the data and find out how successful they have been in reaching supporters on Twitter and Facebook and via their campaign websites.

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