The current situation in Ukraine is a test of strength for Hungarian diplomacy, as it is “entering unknown territory” in connection with promoting the interests of ethnic Hungarians, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee said in Synevyrs’ka Poliana (Felsoszinever), in western Ukraine, on Friday.
Addressing a panel discussion at the 26th Transcarpathian Summer University, Zsolt Nemeth said the direction Ukraine takes with its education law banning post-primary-level education in minority languages would only become clear after next year’s presidential election there. The question, he said, was whether Transcarpathia Hungarians and Hungarian diplomacy would have room for manoeuvre in connection with the law’s implementation.
Nemeth argued that Ukraine’s education law was not solely about education, but rather about a process determining the quality of Ukrainian democracy. He said the issue concerned not just Ukraine, but also Hungarian communities in the Carpathian Basin, given that the countries in which these communities live are also monitoring the situation of the Ukrainian education law.
He said the matter also concerned western European countries, the European Union, the Council of Europe as well as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and its Ukraine policy. The United States also has a role to play in the matter, Nemeth said.
But despite the dispute over the education law, “Hungary’s interest still lies in safeguarding Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
However, tensions between the two countries are unlikely to go away anytime soon, he said, noting next week’s NATO summit and the upcoming bilateral meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association (KMKSZ) leader Laszlo Brenzovics said international public opinion should force Ukraine to observe its own constitution and laws. Transcarpathia Hungarians should continue to stand up for their rights, he added.