EU withdraws 'racist' video clip

Three men confront a woman wearing yellow
Image caption The European Commission says the video was well-received by its target audience of young adults

The European Commission has withdrawn a video promoting EU enlargement after it was accused of being racist.

The filmshows three men from ethnic minorities using martial arts skills apparently preparing to fight a woman.

When she multiplies herself to form a circle around the men, they drop their weapons and her yellow clothes turn into the 12 stars of the EU.

The Commission said it regretted that the video had been perceived as racist and apologised.

Stefano Sannino, Director General of Enlargement for the European Commission, said feedback from the target audience of 16 to 24 year olds "who understand the plots and themes of martial arts films and video games" had been positive.

But ina statementhe admitted other people were "concerned about the message" sent by the short film, called Growing Together.

Issues surrounding race have often proved controversial for Europe in recent years, with growing concern among governments about rising levels of immigration.

'Mutual respect'

The film shows a woman walking through a disused warehouse, where a man from East Asia jumps down in front of her performing Kung Fu.

Then a master of the art of Kalaripayattu, from the southern Indian state of Kerala, materialises and aims his sword at her.

Finally a practitioner of the Brazilian art of Capoeira breaks through a door and cartwheels towards her.

Image caption The European Commission says the film's characters show "mutual respect"

But after gazing calmly at the trio and surrounding them with eleven copies of herself, they all sit down cross-legged.

"[The film] started with demonstration of their skills and ended with all characters showing their mutual respect, concluding in a position of peace and harmony," said Mr Sannino.

"The genre was chosen to attract young people and to raise their curiosity on an important EU policy," he added.

The independent think-tank Open Europe described the video as "very strange".

"It is badly thought out and the question is whether this is the sort of thing they should spend money on, and what it can achieve in promoting enlargement," Raoul Ruparel of Open Europe told the BBC.

"The EU is normally quite politically correct so this is a bit out of the blue."

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