The first plenary session of the new European Parliament, which has ended in Strasbourg, will be remembered by many because of the striking statements made by eurosceptics.
The Parliament now boasts around 170 eurosceptic MEPs, with politicans from Britain’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) among them.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage – along wth other party members – turned his back during the opening of the session, while an orchestra played the EU’s unofficial anthem.
Belgian Green MEP Philippe Lamberts described the act as “disrespectful.”
“If they want to turn their backs on Europe, what are they doing here?” he asked, “It’s politically incoherent and it’s ultimately disrespectful to democracy.”
Raymond Finch, one of the newly-elected UKIP MEPs, said his party’s message is clear.
“We don’t believe the EU has legitimacy and so we refuse to accept it,” he said.
UKIP says it wants to see national democracy restored – teaming up with the likes of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement to drive home their message.
The face of the European Parliament has changed, but how much influence the eurosceptics actually have will become clear over the coming months.
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