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US says Romania a 'model' in fight against corruption


© AFP/File | Romania's top anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Kovesi is under fire from the government for "harming the image of the country"

Romania is a model for combating corruption in eastern Europe, a senior US official said Monday, as its left-wing government tries to dismiss the country's top graft fighter.

"The US supports your anti-corruption institutions, through them you are a role model to the region," US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell told a University of Bucharest audience.

"You have made significant progress and now is not a moment in history when we would want to see Romania take a step back from there," Mitchell added.

Romania's left-wing government has made fighting corruption a priority since taking office in January and it wants to sack the head of the anti-graft office Laura Codruta Kovesi for "harming the image of the country".

In May, the constitutional court ordered President Klaus Iohannis to dismiss Kovesi.

The centre-right opposition says such moves undermine anti-corruption efforts in a country were graft is endemic.

Many judges have denounced what they say are politically motivated "attacks" against the judicial system by the left-wing government which has organised demonstrations against corruption.

The high court of appeal is due to rule on Friday on the case of Liviu Dragnea, a leading left-wing figure, over a fake jobs scandal.

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