Romania leader at odds with EU, won’t attend key EU event

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The chairman of Romania’s ruling party, who has clashed with the European Union over the government’s approach to fighting high-level corruption, is expected to miss events marking Romania’s six-month presidency of the bloc.

Liviu Dragnea, Romania’s most powerful politician, won’t be attending as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk arrive in Bucharest Thursday for a concert and talks with leaders.

Dragnea’s party has embarked on a contentious judicial overhaul which the EU has repeatedly criticized, saying it could protect corrupt officials.

Dragnea, who is also speaker of the lower chamber of deputies, has delegated his duties to a deputy.

The 56-year-old is barred from being prime minister due to a conviction for vote-rigging, but effectively runs the government.

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