European parliament member fined for racist remarks

Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge was the subject of racist remarks by a member of the European Parliament. An Italian court fined MEP Mario Borghezio 50,000 euros over the incident. Photo by MONTANA LAMPO/EPA

May 19 (UPI) — An Italian member of the European Parliament was ordered Thursday to pay 50,000 euros to a black Cabinet minister after he made racist remarks about her during a radio interview.

MEP Mario Borghezio of Italy’s Northern League party, made the remarks in a 2013 interview about Cecile Kyenge, then Italy’s integration minister and the first black person to serve in the nation’s Cabinet.

“Africans are Africans and belong to a very different ethnicity from ours,” Borghezio said. He also said Kyenge, who is an ophthalmologist born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, “took away a job from an Italian doctor” when she emigrated.

An Italian court ordered Borghezio to pay Kyenge 50,000 euros ($56,000), in addition to a 1,000 euro ($1,120) fine.

Afterward, Borghezio, who was suspended by his anti-immigration party for three months in an unrelated racial incident, said he could not afford the fine and would have to sell his house to pay it.


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