Hungary seeks to recognize Ukraine violator of Association Agreement over education law

14:28, 16 October 2017
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The passing by the Ukrainian parliament of the latest law on education in terms of language of instruction in schools for national minorities is a brutal violation of human rights, so the issue should be addressed at the next Ukraine-EU Association Council’s meeting, according to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto who spoke to journalists ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council Monday.

REUTERS

“There is a brutal violation of the human rights in the neighborhood of the European Union since the Ukrainian parliament has passed the law on education where they violated very heavily the rights of the minorities as they have taken away the right of all the minorities to use exclusively their native language in education above the age of ten,” Szijjarto said, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

Read alsoHungary's foreign minister refuses to meet with Ukrainian counterpart – media

“This is a brutal violation of human rights, a brutal violation of minority rights, and a brutal violation of the [Ukraine-EU] Association Agreement,” he said.

The Hungarian foreign minister went on to say that he “will initiate that [issue] during the next session of the Association Council with Ukraine.”

“We should put this on the agenda to address this situation because it’s very extraordinary, let’s put it this way,” he concluded.

The next Association Council meeting is scheduled for December 2017.

Read alsoRomanian minister: Ukraine will keep minority schools openUNIAN memo. Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada on September 5 adopted the new law on education as part of the country's education reform. According to the law, persons belonging to national minorities of Ukraine are guaranteed the right to study in public education institutions with the language of a respective minority as the language of instruction, along with the state language.

Persons who belong to the indigenous peoples, national minorities of Ukraine, who have started to receive general secondary education before September 1, 2018, shall continue to receive such education by September 1, 2020, in accordance with the rules enforced before the new law becomes effective, with a gradual increase in the number of classes taught in Ukrainian.

Foreign ministries of several countries, including Romania, expressed concern about the language norms of the law on education in respect to representatives of national minorities.

Read alsoEU Council not to review Ukraine-EU deal, Hungary may initiate it – European diplomatIn turn, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine assured that the language provisions of the new law did not violate the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Language-related Article 7 of the education law was sent to the Venice Commission late in September for expert evaluation. Its conclusion on the article is expected by December.

Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto later announced his country's intention to block any further rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU over the language row.

Read alsoPACE adopts resolution on Ukraine’s new education lawUkrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin tweeted on October 9 to invite Szijjarto to a joint visit to Zakarpattia region to discuss the language provisions of the education law.

However, Szijjarto refused to meet with Klimkin, saying that his Ukrainian counterpart was late with the proposal, and the meeting with Zakarpattia's Hungarians should have taken place before the adoption of the education law.

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