World

Britain, Netherlands go to polls first as a divided Europe votes on EU's future

  • Britain's Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron and his wife Samantha pause to pose for photographers and television cameras as they leave after casting their votes at a polling station in central London, Thursday, May 22, 2014.  Voters in 28 countries on Thursday begin choosing the next European Parliament and helping determine the EU's future leaders and course.  Around 400 million Europeans are eligible to take part in what is termed the world's largest cross-border exercise in representative democracy.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron and his wife Samantha pause to pose for photographers and television cameras as they leave after casting their votes at a polling station in central London, Thursday, May 22, 2014. Voters in 28 countries on Thursday begin choosing the next European Parliament and helping determine the EU's future leaders and course. Around 400 million Europeans are eligible to take part in what is termed the world's largest cross-border exercise in representative democracy. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) talks to media in central London, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Farage's party could be on track to win the biggest share of British votes in elections this week for the European Parliament _ a parliament Farage wants to abolish, along with the entire 28-nation EU bloc. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) talks to media in central London, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Farage's party could be on track to win the biggest share of British votes in elections this week for the European Parliament _ a parliament Farage wants to abolish, along with the entire 28-nation EU bloc. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leaves after conducting a series of interviews in central London, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Farage's party could be on track to win the biggest share of British votes in elections this week for the European Parliament _ a parliament Farage wants to abolish, along with the entire 28-nation EU bloc. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leaves after conducting a series of interviews in central London, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Farage's party could be on track to win the biggest share of British votes in elections this week for the European Parliament _ a parliament Farage wants to abolish, along with the entire 28-nation EU bloc. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

Voting has begun in Britain and the Netherlands for European Parliament elections in which Euroskeptic parties stand to be the likely beneficiaries of a disillusioned and apathetic electorate.

Some 400 million Europeans are eligible to vote, with national polls being held Thursday through Sunday.

More than 16,000 candidates from 953 parties or lists — from greens to feminists to the far-right — are vying for the legislature's 751 seats.

Many voters are increasingly skeptical of efforts to unite the continent into an economic and political superpower.

In Britain, the anti-EU U.K. Independence Party could gain the largest share of votes.

Prominent Euroskeptic Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, said "a vote for my party is a vote for national sovereignty, for less immigration, for less Brussels."