By Belén Carreño
GRANADA, Spain (Reuters) – European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen sported a scarf with Islamic art motifs that she had received as a spontaneous gift from a tour guide in the southern Spanish city of Granada, where European Union leaders were meeting on Friday.
On Thursday night, Von der Leyen was visiting Granada’s famed Alhambra Palace and fortress – built by the city’s Muslim rulers in the 13th century – when she complemented guide Sumaya Abdelbi on her silk scarf. It featured a gazelle print inspired by art from the palace.
All the female staff working at the Alhambra during the gala dinner of heads of state wore such scarves. Abdelbi, who was born in Germany and is of Moroccan origin, briefed Von de Leyen and her husband on the palace.
“I told her that she was now also part of the history of the Alhambra and she was very impressed,” Abdelbi told Reuters. “She noticed my scarf, she said it was very beautiful and asked me if she could touch it.”
As Von der Leyen was leaving the event, Abdelbi saw her again and shouted: “I want to give you my scarf!”.
The EU leader walked back to accept the gift and take a selfie with Abdelbi.
The scarf, which usually can be bought at the Alhambra souvenir shop, was sold out on Friday morning.
(Reporting by Belén Carreño, editing by Andrei Khalip)