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BCE and te European fiscal policies: Italy and Germany divided on social media

What’s the influence of news we see on TV or print media in our discussions, both in online spaces or “real” life? The intervention of the Banca Centrale Europea (BCE) has become a constant for the public eye. Terms such as Inflation, deflation, negative rates, but also quantitative easing or bail-in have entered, and are now used on the daily. If before the actions of European institutions were interesting only for employees, the current economic crisis has made this subject relevant for everyone.

Does the information from posts match with politics official positions? To find a possible answer to this question, we listened to the active discussions on the social networks in Italy and Germany.

The two countries have different views on the economic field and banking policies: if our country wants the activation of the common guarantee fund, Germany wants to reduce the risks at a national level. Between November 2015 and February 2016, the number of posts concerning the Central Bank and European tax policies in Italian and German has reached important peaks. By post, we mean any online content published by information sites, blogs, or taken from traditional social networks or discussion forums.

The volumes increased significantly since November 2015. At that time, press and online sources speculated on the outcome of the BCE meeting scheduled for the beginning of December. It was a much-anticipated event because it should have clarified some of the Central Bank’s most controversial policies, those on punitive rates applied to banks that deposit money to the ECB (instead of giving credit to businesses). Significant decisions regarding the so-called quantitative easing, ie the purchase of debts by the European Bank for liquidity in the markets, were scheduled for the same meeting. In short, a program of interventions aimed at stimulating the economy and blocking inflation in the Eurozone.

What was the Italian and German online landscape like while preparing for the important appointment? And how did they react? There are many interesting differences.

[March 2016]

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