BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian officials say the government minister, tasked with preparing the country for takeover of the rotating EU presidency on January 1, has resigned.

Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici said European Minister Victor Negrescu resigned on Friday. National news agency Agerpres quoted Negrescu on Saturday and said he did not want to comment.

European Finance Minister Rovana Plumb confirmed his resignation. Plumb says members of the party leading the Romanian coalition government were dissatisfied with Negrescu's achievement in building good relations within the EU executive.

Negrescu is regarded as moderate within the left-wing party of social democracy.

The EU and the US have criticized a government-initiated judicial reform as a criticism of the fight against corruption in Romania.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova expressed her concern over the past month that Romania may have difficulty holding the EU Presidency, while domestic concerns, in particular corruption, have hampered it.

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