"Ukraine stabbed Hungary in the back, making amendments to the law on education, which violates the rights of the Hungarian minority," Foreign Minister and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto told Hungarian news agency MTI in Tallinn, where he attended an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Minister Szijjarto noted that, in his opinion, one of the most important topics on the agenda of the ministerial meeting was the issue of amendments to the law of Ukraine on education, which was adopted in its new edition this week.
"We consider it shameful that the changes [to the law] violate seriously the rights of the Hungarian minority, and it is shameful that a country that seeks to develop ever closer relations with the European Union has taken a decision that completely contradicts European values. It is unacceptable that Ukraine deprived the Hungarians of the right to study in their native language in schools and universities and left them the opportunity to do so in kindergartens and primary classes," said the Hungarian foreign minister.
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"Ukraine's decision not only violates the interests of the 150,000-strong Hungarian minority. For Ukraine, ignoring international obligations also contradicts European values. Accordingly, the Hungarian government will step up its efforts at all possible European forums, so that the new rules don’t come into force," Szijjarto said.
Hungary’s top diplomat stressed that this decision was particularly unfriendly toward his country, given the fact that in recent months Budapest had several times explained to the Ukrainian authorities that the amendment was a strong violation of the Hungarian interest.
"This was done, despite the fact that in recent years Hungary has provided various kinds of assistance to Ukraine were fundamentally important to the process of European integration, as well as to the security and social situation in Ukraine," he said.
Read alsoUkraine's Foreign Ministry summons Hungarian envoy over Budapest official's statement on creating autonomies"We were the most vocal supporters of visa waivers for Ukrainian citizens, we were the first ones to ratify the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, we transport natural gas to Ukraine via Hungary, we provided Ukraine with 600 million forints in humanitarian aid, and provided free recreation in Hungary for 2,600 Ukrainian children in the past three years. Accordingly, the decision on the policy in the field of education in Ukraine can only be regarded as a stab in the back of Hungary and the Hungarian people," Szijjarto said.