Dear @Xavier_Bettel, it’s time to rotate the @EU_Presidency

Bettel

In seven months Luxembourg will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Preparations seem to be well underway, but so far your government has not set up a specific Twitter account for the presidency.

As you may know, the current Italian EU Presidency is quite active on Twitter. It has amassed more than 32,000 followers to its account, @IT2014EU. The Latvian government – which holds the presidency in the first half of 2015 – is already tweeting via two accounts – in English (@EU2015LV), and in Latvian (@ES2015LV). They have a combined total of  more than 3,800 followers.

A computer screen, in the foreground, showing the meeting roomIt is encouraging to see the rotating Council presidencies communicating via social media, but Twitter is now strewn with dormant or deleted accounts (see below).

For example, the Polish account (@PL2011_EU) has not been used since January 2012, and the Cypriot government’s account (@CY2012EU) has been deleted. Followers are ignored or discarded. Meanwhile the Lithuanian government renamed its @EU2013LT account to @LithuaniaMFA, becoming the official account of the country’s foreign ministry.

Your government has the choice of creating another account, which may win you a following of several thousand followers and compete with your predecessors.

But it is probably not the best way of building an audience for the work of the Council and its rotating presidency – certainly in comparison to the Twitter followings of the European Commission (@EU_Commission alone has 306,000 followers) or the European Parliament (the English-language account, @Europarl_EN, has 62,000 followers but is just one of vast array of accounts).

Instead, why not creating a rotating Twitter account for the rotating presidency? The account could then be handed over to each new presidency and grow its following over time.

In December 2013 we registered the @EU_Presidency account for precisely that purpose – we are more than happy to hand it over to you.

A rotating Twitter account would allow Luxembourg – and its successors in the presidency – to grow the number of followers over time, helping people in Europe better understand what the presidency is and what it’s doing.

You could even – if the Italian government agrees – rename @IT2014EU to @EU_Presidency, giving you an audience of 31,000 followers (including several hundred heads of state and government, foreign ministers, international organisations, EU officials and journalists), and handing them on to the Dutch government, which follows Luxembourg in 2016, and its successors. (This is what Herman Van Rompuy did by renaming his @EUHvR handle as @eucopresident before handing it over to his successor, Donald Tusk, the new President of the European Council).

With best wishes for a successful and well-connected presidency,

Luefkens small

Matthias Lüfkens – EMEA Digital Practice Leader , Burson-Marsteller (@luefkens)

 

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  • MRico

    Interesting points. I do agree on your suggestion being a solution for clarity at the benefit of Twitter users, especially considering that the Presidency have not maintained consistency within their usernames’ choice. To solve that, @Pontifex deleted all (few) tweets from Benedict XVI.

    On the other hand, how would you deal with old tweets being displayed as tweets published by the current Presidency? For instance, tweets from @gr2014EU would now look like they were made by @IT2014EU.
    An EU Presidency still remains a very team-based or national-based effort. The accounts that get closed after the term do work as archives of their achievements.

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