“EU is right to back Hungary on Ukraine education law”

Briefing a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the European Union was right to support Hungary’s claims against Ukraine concerning the new education law’s detrimental effects on minorities.

At a hearing by parliament’s national cohesion committee, Szijjarto said the EU was “unprecedentedly correct” to clearly side with Hungary regarding three expectations: the extant rights of minorities to study in their mother tongue without restriction, the principle that consultations must be held with minorities before decisions affecting them are made, and its backing of the Venice Commission, which has urged Ukrainian lawmakers to make changes to the legislation in question. Citing the report by the advisory body of the Council of Europe, the minister said that what had taken place in Ukraine could not be interpreted in any other way than the country had violated its constitutional and international obligations.

The Hungarian government will therefore block all Ukraine’s international initiatives until the situation is settled in a satisfactory way for Transcarpathian Hungarians, he said, adding that Ukraine was in conflict not only with Hungary but with Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, all of which have significant minorities in the country and all of which have written a joint letter to Ukraine on the matter. He added that “un-European and dangerous” nationalism was spreading in the country.

Szijjarto also referred to recent instances of the desecration of Hungarian national symbols in western Ukraine as a further example of Ukrainian nationalism gaining traction in the region.

In an opinion article for Hungarian news site Mandiner, Minister of Justice Laszlo Trocsanyi wrote that he hopes Kiev will come up with proposals take that into account the interests of ethnic Hungarians. He noted that the education law basically makes mother tongue education impossible, and was widely criticised by the international community.

Source: MTI/Hungary Journal
Photo: MTI

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