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The Brief: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy - a closer look

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The Brief: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy - a closer look
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© European Union 2019 - Source : EP - Fred MARVAUX
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The Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group has a leader who's not afraid to strike out in the rain for his beliefs.

The poster boy of British Euroscepticism, Nigel Farage, has sat in the European Parliament since 1999.

"Across the political spectrum, there are now more Eurosceptics in this parliament than there have ever been and many of them do not subscribe to ever closer union, they don't subscribe to that flag, they don't want a European anthem, they want a modern Europe where we can trade together, cooperate together and have mutual respect for each other. And I'll tell you this, Mr Lamberts: don't worry too much about my presence because within the next five years, I won't be here," Farage told supporters.

But with Britain's exit from the EU delayed, Farage is back out campaigning again — if reluctantly — with his new Brexit Party.

I shouldn't be here, you shouldn't be here," he said. None of this should be happening. We should have left the European Union. But I'll be damned if, after 25 years of fighting for this, I'm going to roll over and allow these politicians to do this to us.
Nigel Farage

The EFDD group ended the last term with 42 MEPs.

In order for the group to reach the 25 member threshold from 7 member states which allows its leader to speak in every European Parliament debate, the group of British eurosceptics needed support.

While the 18 MEPs in the EFDD group are British, 14 are Italian, 6 French and one member from each of Poland, Lithuanian, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The EFDD wants to end the single currency euro, return power back to national capitals and campaigns against what it sees as the creation of a European superstate.

They support anti-establishment movements like the Yellow Vests in France.

"All the violence of a financial order which expresses itself under the guise of a democratic power which actually sets itself against its own population conscious of the state of servitude," said MEP Florian Phillpott, French member of EFDD.

The EFDD is propped up by the anti-establishment 5 star movement in Italy which has since become a coalition partner in the Italian government.

"In Europe we will go beyond right and left linings, extreme right parties, left partie s that betrayed the population, right parties that betrayed business people, and we will become the main character and the scale needle in the new European Parliament," Luigi di Maio explained to a rally of supporters.

The EFDD's power in the Parliament is hampered by the unwillingness of French eurosceptics to join forces over personality clashes and minor ideological differences.

MEPs from Marine Le Pen's National Rally sit in the Europe of Nations and Freedom grouping and look set to remain teamed up with Italy's ruling League party.

Eurosceptics may win more seats in the European parliament, but it still doesn't look like they'll be able to unite.