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.
— hermann kelly (@hermannkelly) July 1, 2014
— Parlement Européen (@PEStrasbourg) July 1, 2014
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.
Hymne européen dans l’hémicycle.Solennel.Seuls les FN restent assis.Et les Le Pen donnent des leçons de patriotisme.Ridicule?Non,douloureux
— Robert Rochefort (@robertrochefort) July 1, 2014
“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.
UKIP MEPs turn backs on the opening of the EU parliament as they don’t recognise anthem and flag. Tories do recognise pic.twitter.com/UOmkdq7qGe
— UKIP Wandsworth (@UKIP_Battersea) July 1, 2014
Und so reagiert Nigel Farage beim Abspielen der Europahymne pic.twitter.com/m5V9F5RU6f
— Eugen Freund (@EugenAFreund) June 30, 2014
Eugen Freund took this photo of Farage steadfastedly ignoring the orchestra, which led to this Tweet.
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) July 1, 2014
Britain’s sole remaining Liberal Democrat MEP, Catherine Bearder, was not impressed and neither was German MEP Siegfried Muresan.
— Catherine Bearder (@catherinemep) July 1, 2014
One of ugliest gestures I have ever seen in public: #Farage & other eurosceptics turned back on orchestra playing European anthem in EP
— Siegfried Muresan (@SMuresan) July 1, 2014
Farage criticised German Socialist Martin Schulz’s election as European Parliament President with an absolute majority of 409 votes.
— Neil Corlett (@ALDESpokesNeil) July 1, 2014
Great honour & responsibility to be the voice of the Parliament of EU citizens. We’ll keep strengthening this House to the benefit of all
— EP President (@EP_President) July 1, 2014
European Conservatives and Reformists candidate Sajjad Karim came second with 101 votes. The European People’s Party did not field a candidate.
“The Pres should reflect the diversity of this House, as this house reflects the diversity of the peoples of Europe’ pic.twitter.com/mhTQY5qTV6
— Sajjad H Karim MEP (@SHKMEP) July 1, 2014
— Louis Ide ? (@louis_ide) July 1, 2014
— VoteWatch Europe (@VoteWatchEurope) July 1, 2014
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.”
— Chris Morris (@BBCChrisMorris) July 1, 2014
— Pieter Cleppe (@pietercleppe) July 1, 2014
— Hugh Barton-Smith (@hughbs) July 1, 2014
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.
— Wiktor Dabkowski (@Brussels_PJ) July 1, 2014
Just as it’s wrong for the Taliban to *impose* burqas, so it’s wrong for France to *ban* them. Governments shouldn’t regulate private dress.
— Daniel Hannan (@DanHannanMEP) July 1, 2014