On April 26, Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann held a speech at the German embassy in Rome, in which he accused the Italian government of not respecting the fiscal principles established by EU rules.

Weidmann pointed his finger against Pier Carlo Padoan, the Italian Minister of economy and finance, defining his economic views as too optimistic. He also warned Prime Minister Matteo Renzi against misusing the concept of solidarity among European states. Weidmann made it clear that sharing risks in the Eurozone will be possible only if member states accept to lose sovereignty over the definition of their fiscal policies in favour of the EU. Otherwise they will just have to face their responsibilities on their own.

We collected and analyzed Italian tweets containing the keyword “Weidmann” between April 26 to 28 to find out users’ reactions to the speech. Over this period  4,187 such tweets were written. After filtering out those not expressing an attitude, we divided tweets between positive and negative: 317 tweets (23.5%) were identified as positive, and 1,032 (76.5%) as negative.

Although negative tweets outnumbered positive ones, we noticed that the former were concentrated between the late hours of the April 26 (the beginning of the speech) and the evening of April 27. On April 28 the gap between positive and negative voices decreased significantly (284 negative tweets vs. 204 positive ones). In addition, after the second day positive and negative reactions changed in their content. More precisely, while negative tweets featured a more “spontaneous” kind of reaction–they were less mediated by reflections of politicians and intellectuals–positive reactions (concentrated on April 28) were more likely to incorporate, or to be informed by, articles and expert opinions.

Photo Credits CC: Chatham House

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