The Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), shares Hungary’s concerns regarding the new Ukrainian education law.
Thorbjorn Jagland thinks that the new law provides less favourable conditions for minority language teaching in Ukraine than the previous legislation, according to the CoE chief’s letter to Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, forwarded to Hungarian news agency MTI by the ministry.
The secretary general wrote that he had expressed his concerns to Ukraine’s authorities and also at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers on September 27. He reminded that following his reaction Ukraine asked for the opinion of the Venice Commission about the new law.
Jagland confirmed that he plans to discuss his concerns with Ukraine’s education minister too, whom he meets on Monday in Strasbourg. Hopefully it will be possible to establish cooperation in order to harmonise the legislation with CoE’s standards. The secretary general expressed his conviction that fundamental values, including respect for the rights of national minorities are indispensable in a strong and democratic Europe.
“In signing Ukraine’s new education law, apparently making Ukrainian the first language in all public secondary and high schools – and providing less favourable conditions for minority language teaching – Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, is therefore walking a fine line,”
“It would be reckless to ignore the threat to peace and stability posed by the politicisation of inter-ethnic relations and lack of compliance with internationally-agreed standards on minority protection. Language learning is but one critical example of this that cannot go unchallenged. After all, fire spreads.”
– he warned.