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EC leader’s new team sparks row

Incoming: Ms von der Leyen PICTURE: REX

THE president-elect of the European Commission was at the centre of a race row as she unveiled her new team.

Ursula von der Leyen hailed her all-white team of 14 men and 13 women ‘as diverse and strong as Europe is’.

But it included ex-Belgian deputy PM Didier Reynders as justice commission, who caused outrage four years ago when he blacked up his face for the Noirauds festival in Brussels.

He has defended taking part in the tradition, which dates back to 1876, as it raises money for needy children.

But Nigerian-born Belgian author Chika Unigwe tweeted: ‘In other civilised countries his political career wouldn’t survive this, but in Belgium he just continues.’

Ms von der Leyen, who will replace Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1, was also accused of an attack on migrants after appointing the EU’s first commissioner for ‘protecting our way of life’.

Labour MEP Claude Moraes called the move ‘deeply insulting’, while Green MEP Molly Scott Cato said the Commission had adopted the ‘divisive rhetoric of fascists’.