Hungary did not bring up issue of revision of UA-EU Association deal - source

20:40, 16 October 2017
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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Peter Szijjzrto at a Monday meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council did not raise the issue of revising the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, only stressing the need to address Ukraine’s "violations" of minority rights by passing the recent education law, a top European diplomat has told an UNIAN correspondent in Brussels.

Photo from UNIAN

"Hungary raised the issue of education law in Ukraine during the debate on human rights at FAC [Foreign Affairs Council], saying it violates the rights of minorities. The minister suggested it is raised with Ukraine during the Association Council planned for December (by then Venice Commission preliminary opinion is also likely to be available). This is what is now expected to happen. Several ministers in the broader human rights discussion also stressed the importance of respect of minority rights. Since you asked about a review of the Association Agreement - this was not mentioned," the source said.

The diplomat added that the Ukraine education law issue was addressed during today’s meeting within the framework of the discussion on human rights.

Read alsoHungary may insist on adding Ukraine's education law issue in final EaP declaration – journalistAs UNIAN reported, Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said earlier Monday that it was necessary to put on the agenda of the next meeting of the Ukraine-EU Association Council the issue of Ukraine's "violation" of the Association Agreement because of the adopted law on education.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Monday meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Szijjarto claimed that Ukraine has “taken away the right of all the minorities to use exclusively their native language in education above the age of ten”.

“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, adding that he “will initiate that [issue] during the next session of the Association Council with Ukraine.”

Read alsoHungary seeks to recognize Ukraine violator of Association Agreement over education lawUNIAN 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.

Read alsoKlimkin invites EU ambassadors to Zakarpattia region over Hungary's position on education lawForeign ministries of several countries, including Romania, expressed concern about the language norms of the law on education in respect to representatives of national minorities. In 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.

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

Ukrainian 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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