(see related) Strasbourg, May 22 - Mario Borghezio, an Italian member of the European Parliament, apologized Wednesday for racist comments he made about Italy's first black member of cabinet, Cecile Kyenge. "I feel I must express my apologies to the minister," Borghezio said. "I take that my words are considered offensive to a person of colour and towards a woman. "I regret that I brought disgrace to parliament and the EFD group". Borghezio, who triggered an outcry with his remarks about the integration minister, also stepped down from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group of the European Parliament, where he represented Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League party. Borghezio's actions come two days after Parliament Speaker Martin Schulz blasted him for making racial slurs against Kyenge. And earlier this month, an online petition was launched in Italy to oust or at least sanction Borghezio. All this came after he called Premier Enrico Letta's new executive a "bonga bonga government" and claimed Kyenge would seek to "impose her tribal traditions from the Congo" on Italy. Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has risen through the ranks of Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) since she came to Italy in 1983. The case is being further investigated by the EU's Conference of Presidents which is comprised of Schulz and all political group Whips.