BUCHAREST, Romania — A Romanian European Parliament lawmaker has been summoned to explain comments he made in the EU parliament that allegedly defamed his country — an increasingly sensitive issue in Romania.

Cristian Preda will answer accusations Wednesday in Bucharest before a seven-member committee that he spoke ill of Romania when he criticized the ruling party and two prime ministers.

The development comes as the ruling Social Democratic Party considers introducing a law that would sanction people who lie or defame Romania abroad. The proposal has been criticized by press freedom groups, among others.

The committee Preda will answer to is dominated by the Social Democrats, while Preda belongs to the opposition Liberal Party. It could vote to strip Preda of the Star of Romania award he received in 2009.