All eyes on sceptics as massive EU vote enters final day

EU parliamentary voting got underway in Greece, Romania and Lithuania today, the final day of a massive process expected to give eurosceptic parties a boost.

AFP| Last Updated: May 25, 2014, 11:05 AM IST

Brussels: EU parliamentary voting got underway in Greece, Romania and Lithuania today, the final day of a massive process expected to give eurosceptic parties a boost.

In all, 21 EU member states, including France, Germany and Italy head to the polls today to end four days of voting which began in Britain and the Netherlands on Thursday.
No results will be announced until all polling is finished at 2100 GMT.
If opinion polls prove correct, the eurosceptic parties could treble their presence to around 100 seats in the new 751-seat EU assembly.

In Denmark, France and Italy, anti-EU parties are poised to take first or second place today, shaking up national politics and preparing to battle Brussels from the inside.

In Britain, the eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) led by Nigel Farage -- a party without a single seat in the national parliament -- surged on Thursday in local council polls held in parallel with the EU vote, rocking the establishment.
Turnout too is likely to reflect growing popular exasperation with the EU, dropping even further from the record low of 43 per cent in 2009.

"There is a legitimacy problem," Carnegie Europe director Jan Techau told AFP.
"But a win for the fringe parties won`t derail or change the way the parliament works," Techau said.

"It will change a country`s domestic political scene and possibly affect the way national leaders act within the EU."

The polls suggest the mainstream parties, the centre-right conservatives and centre-left socialists, will hold about 70 per cent of the seats in the next parliament.
Traditionally they have worked together much of the time and should be able to continue to do so, analysts said.

Faced by mounting hostility to the Brussels bureaucracy and the harsh austerity policies adopted to overcome the debt crisis, EU political leaders have worked hard to correct a so-called "democratic deficit".