UKIP and National Front stage EU Parliament protests

UKIP leader Nigel Farage turned his back during the playing of the European anthem in Strasbourg today (1 July 2014). November 2012. [European Parliament/Flickr]

The UK Independence Party and France’s Front National today (1 July) staged protests at the opening of the new European Parliament in Strasbourg, where Martin Schulz was elected for a second term as European Parliament President.

The protests, and Schulz’s election, sparked a flurry of comments on social media from MEPs and other commentators.

UKIP’s 24 MEPs, led by Nigel Farage, turned their backs on the EU flag and Strasbourg’s Philharmonic Orchestra, which was playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.  It followed a “march for freedom” to the Parliament.  



Marine Le Pen and her far-right Front National remained seated during the anthem, which other MEPs, including members of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, stood and later applauded. The ECR, while Eurosceptic, argues for reform of the EU.



“We don’t recognise or respect the EU flag or anthem. They are both symbols of our servitude inside a political union which the British people reject […] We stand up for our people, not the EU flag and anthem,” said UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall.





Eugen Freund took this photo of Farage steadfastedly ignoring the orchestra, which led to this Tweet.



Britain’s sole remaining Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, was not impressed and neither was German MEP Siegfried Muresan.




Farage criticised German Socialist Martin Schulz’s election as European Parliament President with an absolute majority of 409 votes.





European Conservatives and Reformists candidate Sajjad Karim came second with 101 votes. The European People’s Party did not field a candidate.







Farage said, “There are no losers among the EU elite after this election. Everyone is a winner! The reason the Federalist fanatics gave for appointing [Jean-Claude] Juncker was his party, the EPP topped the poll in the European Election. And then they go and appoint Socialist Schulz as president of the European Parliament.

“This is a big group stitch up.  For them, it’s damn democracy – it’s all about the carving up of power among the EU elite.”







Italian MEP Gianluca Buonanno dressed in a veil to protest against the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling today that France’s ban on the burkha was legal. His opinion was echoed by UK Conservative MEP Dan Hannan.






Newly elected MEPs will sit in the Brussels on 1 July 2014. This is the first time since the May 25 European elections, which saw a surge in support for Eurosceptic parties.

Their first session will focus on electing the President of the European Parliament.

On 16 July, they will hold a vote of confidence Jean-Claude Juncker's nomination as President of the European Commission. 

  • 1 July 2014: Election of the President of the European Parliament
  • 16 July 2014: Election of the President of the European Commission

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