EP political groups unite against racist and sexist insults by Italian MEP Mario Borghezio
Joint statement from five main political groups in the European Parliament
The five main political groups of the European Parliament met in Strasbourg yesterday to express their solidarity with Italian minister for integration, Cécile Kyenge Kashetu, after racist and sexist insults of far-right MEP Mario Borghezio.
The group leaders received 130,000 signatures from Stefano Corradino of Articolo 21, who had launched an online petition calling for the resignation of Borghezio.
"I welcome the broad agreement among our respective groups, to unequivocally join forces against racism, discrimination and sexism on this occasion", said Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group.
Hannes Swoboda was joined by Véronique Mathieu Houillon (EPP), ALDE group president Guy Verhofstadt, Greens/EFA co-president Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and GUE/NGL group president Gabriele Zimmer, who jointly expressed their groups' strong condemnation: "We cannot force someone who has been elected to resign, but we strongly condemn and reject Mario Borghezio's appalling insults. The scale and gravity of his fanatical statements on migrants and on women are in blatant contradiction with the EU's founding values.
"Paradoxically enough, Borghezio is also a member of the European Parliament's committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs. Our five political groups will together ask the chair of the committee to invite Italian minister Cécile Kyenge Kashetu to the European Parliament immediately to present her policy proposals and receive our firm support.
"We also expect the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group at the European Parliament to take resolute action against its member, Mario Borghezio."
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, joined the group leaders in their call for solidarity:
"I reiterate my personal strong condemnation for the declarations of MEP Borghezio. They are unacceptable and a shame for our house. The civic response with which these statements have been countered in Italy is comforting:
it conveys a clear message of solidarity to Minister Kyenge and states clearly that racism has no place in Italy or Europe."