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EU chief von der Leyen to testify at German defense inquiry

BERLIN

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will testify Thursday before a German parliamentary committee investigating whether there was wrongdoing in the use of external experts during her time as defense minister.

Von der Leyen was Germany’s defense minister from late 2013 until her unexpected nomination in July to lead the European Union’s executive commission. Her tenure as defense chief drew mixed reviews, and a parliamentary inquiry has been looking into questions about whether proper procedures were followed in the expensive appointment of outside experts at the ministry.

Opposition lawmakers also have raised questions about the deleting of data on two cellphones von der Leyen used — one that was replaced in January 2019 and a second that she used after that. Von der Leyen has said she handed the phones back to the ministry and wasn’t aware of the data being deleted.

Von der Leyen’s appearance is meant to conclude testimony after about a year, during which the panel has heard about 30 witnesses.

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