Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says Hungary began to realize that Ukraine does not intend to discriminate against the Hungarian community in Zakarpattia region after the adoption of the new law on education.
In an article for the Europeiska Pravda online edition, Klimkin said the main result of the recent meeting of the four ministers from Ukraine and Hungary and the long and difficult process of negotiations is that "we are finally getting out of the clinch in the dispute over the new law 'On Education.'"
"It seems our Hungarian partners have finally realized that the law will not be changed. Now the parties have made efforts to find a compromise on how it will be implemented," the minister said.
According to Klimkin, the Ukrainian side assured the Hungarians that it would fulfill the recommendation of the Venice Commission on the transition period in the introduction of the law.
"But this will not be a postponement of the problem. We will use this time for quality practical preparation for innovations. This is about our new programs, methods, textbooks and dictionaries, this is about professional qualification of teachers," Klimkin said.
"In addition, Article 7 of the law will not apply to private schools, on the recommendation of the Venice Commission. And every public school for national minorities will have broad powers to independently determine which classes will be taught in Ukrainian or their native language," he said.
According to the minister, "all this creates a good basis for ensuring that both children and adults are fluent in both languages – the opportunity to resolve disputes constructively and democratically."
"The fact that we have pushed away from the dead end is a really significant victory. I stress: this is not Ukrainian, not Hungarian – this is our common Ukrainian-Hungarian victory and an important step toward each other," Klimkin stressed.
"For almost a year, the Ukrainian diplomacy has persistently persuaded the Hungarian side to look at the issue of increasing the volumes of Ukrainian language in schools of the Hungarian minority not from a formal but pragmatic side, in terms of the real benefits that the Hungarian community will receive from that," he added.
According to Klimkin, "it seems that our partners have begun to realize that Kyiv's goal is not to discriminate against the Hungarian community; on the contrary, we want the Ukrainian Hungarians to feel at home not only in their village or town, but throughout the country."