Hungarian FM: Ukraine must revoke education law

17:40, 25 November 2017
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Speaking of Ukraine and its education law at a press conference on the sidelines of the Eastern European Summit on November 24, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Hungary would not “sacrifice” ethnic Hungarians living in western Ukraine “on the altar of world politics”, according to the Hungarian Journal.

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Any attempt to place the Hungarian government’s position on Ukraine in a misguided geopolitical context will be resisted, he told the press conference, the Hungarian Journal reported.

Read alsoUkraine's envoy to EU speaks with facts on new education lawUkraine is in a decision-making position, he said, because if it truly cares about European and Euro-Atlantic integration, it must fulfill its international obligations. The country must revoke its education law that violates the rights of minorities, the minister said, adding it could count on Hungary’s staunch support as soon as it remedies the situation.

Szijjarto insisted that Ukraine’s education law was not an issue between Hungary and Ukraine but posed a “European problem.” Friday’s summit, he added, adopted a joint declaration in which participants urged that acquired rights of ethnic minorities should be enforced in line with decisions and conventions by the United Nations and the Council of Europe. It must be ensured that there is no discrimination against ethnics and decisions by the Council of Europe are fully implemented, Szijjarto added.

Read alsoHungarian defense minister avoids answering question on Budapest using NATO as blackmail toolThe closing document of the summit opens a new chapter, Szijjarto said, as it reflects the EU’s “unanimous support for upholding ethnic minorities’ acquired education rights”. He also pointed out that “Ukraine had no choice but accept the document”.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the bill on education into a law on September 25. Its language provisions (Article 7) have raised concerns among a number of EU states, including Hungary which vowed to oppose any initiatives offered by or important for Ukraine until Kyiv changes the language-related norms of the new legislation. The new law says Ukrainian shall be the language of instruction in all schools. President Poroshenko instructed that the foreign ministry and ministry of education carry out necessary consultations with Ukraine’s European partners, including with the Council of Europe. On September 2, Klimkin submitted Article 7 of the new law on education (concerning languages in schools) for the assessment by Venice Commission. Its opinion will be handed down by December.

Hungarian foreign minister earlier stated that because of the language provisions of the Ukrainian law on education, Hungary would block all steps toward Ukraine-EU rapprochement in the framework of the Eastern Partnership program and also any initiatives that contribute to Ukraine's European integration. He added that Hungary would initiate a revision of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.

Read alsoRussian-Hungarian slap in the face of the EU and NATO. How long will the Allies remain silentIn addition, Szijjarto said that Budapest will continue to seek from Kyiv the passing of amendments to the education law, and if this is not done, they will require the introduction of EU sanctions against Ukraine.

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