Romanian minister planning country’s EU presidency resigns

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian officials say the government minister tasked with preparing the country to take over the European Union’s rotating presidency on Jan. 1 has resigned.

Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici said European Affairs Minister Victor Negrescu stepped down Friday. National news agency Agerpres quoted Negrescu on Saturday saying he didn’t want to comment.

European Funds Minister Rovana Plumb confirmed the resignation. Plumb says members of the party that leads Romania’s coalition government were dissatisfied with Negrescu’s performance in building good relations within the EU’s executive branch.

Negrescu is considered a moderate within the left-wing Social Democracy Party.

The EU and the U.S. have criticized a government-initiated judicial overhaul as undermining the fight against corruption in Romania.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova voiced concern last month about Romania potentially struggling to manage the EU’s presidency while it was weighed down by domestic concerns, in particular corruption.

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