MEPs protest Ukrainian language law

A group of 19 central European MEPs have sent an open letter to Andriy Parubiy, the chairman of Ukraine’s parliament, expressing concern over the country’s language bill on Friday.

The letter was signed by MEPs of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz-KDNP, ethnic Hungarian MEPs in neighbouring countries, as well as two Romanian and two Bulgarian MEPs. Ukrainian parliament approved the first draft on Oct. 4 which makes compulsory the use of Ukrainian as an official language in education and other areas. A second round of voting is scheduled for Nov. 6.

In the letter the European lawmakers cited obligations Ukraine has undertaken in international accords on observing minority rights. Further they propose submitting the bill to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for an opinion and approval before a final vote.

In the meantime, Andrea Bocskor, a Hungarian MEP from Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region, has sent a letter to inform Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, about the bill which she said violates minority rights. She asked Brussels to monitor the legislative process and take steps to make Ukraine observe basic human rights and consult ethnic minority organisations and international institutions on new laws affecting minorities.

Nemeth urges restoring ‘regular conditions’ in Hungary-Ukraine ties

“Regular conditions and a functional dialogue” need to be restored in Hungarian-Ukrainian relations, Zsolt Nemeth, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told MTI in Berehove (Beregszasz) on Friday.

Following talks with Hennadiy Moskal, the governor of Transcarpathia, Nemeth called for a “constructive dialogue” to settle issues between the two countries. He said developments following Ukraine’s adopting a new education law in September last year were regrettable, and voiced concern over a recent language draft, which would “prevent Hungarian from being a regional language” in Transcarpathia. If that bill is passed into law, it could have unpredictable consequences for the Hungarian minority, he added.

Nemeth made mention of the Mirotvorets extremist organisation’s recent publishing a list of officials of dual Ukrainian-Hungarian citizenship, which he called “a vile act eliciting a wave of intimidation”, but added that he considered the past one year “as an accident the ramifications of which could be tackled with due diplomacy”.

Referring to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Nemeth said that “we, Hungarians, could support Ukraine in that conflict” and insisted that Ukraine should not “deprive itself of the support its allies beyond its western borders could provide in NATO and the European Union” or else it could “jeopardise its future and opportunities”. Ukraine’s “generating tension with Hungary” in fact serves the political purposes of Russia, which seeks discord between Ukraine and the West, Nemeth added.

Source and photo: MTI

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