Language row: Kyiv, Budapest this week to hold talks on education

23:50, 18 June 2018
Politics
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At the end of this week, a high-level intergovernmental meeting will be held between representatives of Ukraine and Hungary over disagreements that arose after the adoption in September 2017 of a new Ukrainian law on education, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday, speaking at a conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional Languages in Strasbourg, Deutsche Welle reports.

The Hungarian minister noted that this will be the first meeting at such a level since the dialogue between Kyiv and Budapest has worsened as a result of an ongoing dispute over the Ukrainian legislation, but did not specify the details of the upcoming talks.

Szijjarto insists that the right of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine are being violated.

According to him, more than 150,000 Hungarians residing in Ukraine until recently had the right to receive education in their native language, but after the adoption of the new law on education, "they lost such right."

Read alsoMFA Ukraine says "constructive negotiations" launched with Hungarians on education law

Szijjarto criticized the Council of Europe for the fact that the European Union is more concerned about the situation with migrants than Zakarpattia-based Hungarians.

The minister demanded that the Council of Europe exert pressure on Ukraine to ensure implementation of the Venice Commission's recommendations. He also criticized the Venice Commission, accusing its members of putting forward requirements concerning the Hungarian Stop Soros legislative package, "which is aimed at protecting Hungary, but is less active with relation to the already valid Ukrainian legislation."

At the same time, Szijjarto stressed that the protection of rights of national minorities remains in the major focus of Hungarian foreign policy.

Read alsoSzijjarto hails U.S. role in efforts to settle Hungary-Ukraine language row

UNIAN memo. In September 2017, Ukraine adopted a new education law, where Article 7 states that children from families belonging to ethnic minorities will be taught in secondary schools in their native language from first to fourth grade starting in 2020, after which the language of instruction will be Ukrainian, the only state language in Ukraine.

The language provision has caused some international criticism, in particular, on the part of Budapest. Hungary said that it would block Ukraine's efforts toward rapprochement with NATO and EU if Kyiv fails to postpone the implementation of the education law.

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