FM Klimkin to discuss Ukraine's language law with Hungarian counterpart
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin plans to discuss the draft law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a national language, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on April 25, with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.
"I believe that our Hungarian partners deliberately chose a line of confrontation. I will speak with Szijjarto about this in Brussels in just two weeks, during a ministerial meeting on Eastern Partnership," Klimkin said at a joint briefing with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius in Kyiv, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"I repeat once again, first of all, this law is important, but it must be understood in the sense of supporting the Ukrainian language, and in no case should it be seen as a restriction of someone's rights," Klimkin said.
"And secondly: everything that will be done, as you see, is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. And now the work should begin, very public, very open one, on how the law should be implemented," he said.
"I also believe we need to go further and have a separate law on minority languages. We need to help our citizens, and we don't want Hungarians, Romanians or anyone else to become less Hungarian or Romanian. They belong to our political nation. They should have the right to receive education in their own languages, of course, their rights should not be limited, but they should get a real chance to learn the Ukrainian language," Klimkin said.
At the same time, Klimkin is confident Ukraine and Hungary will find a common language.
"The political message, I was waiting for it. We will have a difficult, but, nevertheless, I think, productive discussion with Hungary," Klimkin added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, on April 25 adopted the draft law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the national language.
The law is not applicable to the sphere of private communication and religious ceremonies.
This law comes into force one month from the date of its publication, except for a number of provisions whose entry is postponed for several years.
The law provides that every citizen of Ukraine is obliged to speak Ukrainian as the language of his or her citizenship. It is noted that the state shall organize Ukrainian language courses for adults and provide an opportunity for citizens of Ukraine to learn the national language free if they had no opportunity.
According to the law, a person seeking Ukrainian citizenship is obliged to pass a Ukrainian language test. However, individuals who perform military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and are given a state award and those whose citizenship of Ukraine is of state interest for the country have the right to acquire Ukrainian citizenship without taking the language test, but are obliged master it within one year from the date they are granted Ukraine's citizenship.