Szijjarto: Ukraine must suspend implementation of education law

Hungary calls on Ukraine to suspend the implementation of its education law until agreement is reached on details with Transcarpathia Hungarians, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Friday.

Szijjarto is in Sofia for a two-day informal meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union. Speaking to MTI by phone after discussing regional security issues with officials of EU candidate countries, Szijjarto said respect for minority rights was a key aspect of security.

Ukraine – a country looking to move closer to EU integration – has recently seriously violated international law on the protection of minority rights which are also strictly enforced by the EU, the minister said. Szijjarto accused Kiev of having launched an “international smear campaign” against Hungary and Transcarpathia Hungarians, saying that Ukraine Hungarians had stayed away from a consultation on the education law with the Ukrainian government, as recommended by the Venice Commission. But in fact, he said, the government wanted to consult the Hungarian community on a new law that would have been based on the contested stipulations passed last year. He insisted that representatives of the local Hungarian community had not been invited to discuss the education law. If they had shown up for the consultations, it would have signalled an approval of the education law on their part, he argued.

Szijjarto speculated that the Ukrainian government had launched its “smear campaign” to “hide the fact that they couldn’t care less about the Venice Commission’s decision” on the education law. Ukraine’s new rules on education banning post-primary-level education in minority languages were signed into law by the president last September.

Szijjarto: Hungary firmly supports Serbia’s EU accession

Hungary resolutely supports Serbia’s accession to the European Union, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with Ivica Dacic, his Serbian counterpart. Serbia’s EU integration would coincide with Hungary’s interests in multiple ways, Szijjarto said. Not only would it benefit ethnic Hungarians in Vojvodina, but the establishment of stability in the Western Balkan region through Serbia’s accession is also in Hungary’s security interest, he said. Further, the more members the EU has, the stronger it will be, the minister argued.

Szijjarto underlined the need to speed up Serbia’s accession process. Hungary agrees with the Serbian government’s view that the country will be ready to join the bloc by 2022, he said. Szijjarto said that Hungary and Serbia will be ready to open the Rastina-Bacsszentgyorgy border crossing point on April 1. This will be an important step in the lives of those living on the two sides of the border and for bilateral economic cooperation as well, he said. Szijjarto added that this border crossing point will be the third one to open in the last three years.

Source and photo: MTI


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