06/03/2012 08:14 GMT | Updated 06/03/2012 10:23 GMT

European Union Withdraws Promotional Video After Complaints Of Racism

The European Union has withdrawn a promotional video following complaints that it was racist.

The video published on YouTube last week depicted a white woman dressed in EU yellow facing down three non-white martial arts pros.

The three men are clearly intended represent the rising economic and military power of India, Africa and China.

They aggressively approach the woman wielding a variety of weapons. But she surrounds them with 12 replicas of herself, leading the three aggressors to sit down in a pose suggesting they are ready to talk.

The yellow-costumed woman then transforms into the stars of the European Union flag.

A message appears on screen declaring that Europeans are stronger when they work together and goes on to promote the idea of EU enlargement.

Stefano Sannino, Director General of DG Enlargement said on Tuesday that he had received a lot of feedback from people concerned about the message it was sending.

"It was a viral clip targeting, through social networks and new media, a young audience (16-24) who understand the plots and themes of martial arts films and video games," he said.

"The reactions of these target audiences to the clip have in fact been positive, as had those of the focus groups on whom the concept had been tested.

"The clip featured typical characters for the martial arts genre: kung fu, capoeira and kalaripayattu masters; it started with demonstration of their skills and ended with all characters showing their mutual respect, concluding in a position of peace and harmony.

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

He added: "The clip was absolutely not intended to be racist and we obviously regret that it has been perceived in this way. We apologise to anyone who may have felt offended. Given these controversies, we have decided to stop the campaign immediately and to withdraw the video."