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UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage addresses the European Parliament during a debate on the last European Council meeting in Strasbourg, July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Jean-Marc Loos(reuters_tickers)
By John O'Donnell
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Two of Europe's leading Eurosceptics accused Brussels on Wednesday of ignoring the result of recent EU elections and warned that growing numbers of doubters in the bloc's Parliament would shake up any return to "business as usual".
"What you are going to have to get used to is ... there are now more Eurosceptics in this parliament than there have ever been and many of them do not subscribe to ever closer union," Britain's Nigel Farage told the first session of the recently elected European Parliament in Strasbourg.
"We are the ones that want democracy ... not to be trapped inside this museum," he said.
Farage, who heads the United Kingdom Independence Party and recently formed a 48-strong Eurosceptic group of EU lawmakers with Italy's 5-Star Movement, warned against the resumption of normal business after voters across the European Union signalled various degrees of unhappiness with the bloc.
He also said his own country was closer to leaving the EU than ever before, adding: "Within the next five years, I won't be here."
The critical remarks were echoed by those of Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front.
"There are the blind and there are those who don't want to see," she said. "A new wind is blowing. We are trying to fight the anti-democratic, brutal, disconnected Europe."
"This is being called more and more into question by our citizens," she said, adding: "This mandate will not be very smooth going."
The combative statements underscore one of the challenges facing the Parliament, which has to sign off EU regulation as well as a trade pact between the United States and Europe.
As its authority has grown, thanks to changes in EU law, so too has widespread frustration with Brussels, which many hold responsible for economic mismanagement and immigration.
Farage attacked what he called a "stitch-up" that lead to Luxembourg politician Jean-Claude Juncker, a long-standing supporter of EU integration, being chosen as president of the European Commission.
Britain and Hungary voted against Juncker, but all 26 other EU states supported him.
(Reporting By John O'Donnell Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)