Strasbourg

Borghezio makes open dinner invitation to Kyenge

'Not a problem, I'm not a racist' says MEP

Borghezio makes open dinner invitation to Kyenge

(see related) Strasbourg, May 22 - Mario Borghezio, an Italian member of the European Parliament, said he would invite Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge to dinner Wednesday after apologizing for racist comments he made about Italy's first black member of cabinet. "I wouldn't hesitate to reach out my hand and, if she comes to Strasbourg, I would event invite her to dinner. I would have no problem with that because I am not a racist," Borghezio told ANSA. Borghezio, who triggered an outcry with his remarks about the integration minister, stepped down Wednesday 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.

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