Hungarian ambassador to Ukraine: European Union should not settle Ukraine's problems

14:22, 12 April 2012
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Ambassador of Hungary to Ukraine Mihaly Bayer told KW why his country is not in a rush to introduce the euro, how residents of Zakarpattya receive Hungarian passports and why ethnic Hungarians need autonomy in Ukraine.

In a KW interview published this week Mr. Bayer voiced the opinion the Ukrainian Hungarians would like to create an autonomy and manage their affairs in Ukraine independently. He also said that not all EU countries are unhappy with the current government in Ukraine and that Hungary is ready to support quicker signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

The diplomat said his government supported the initiative of one organization of ethnic Hungarians in Zakarpattya to introduce an ethnic quota for the Hungarian minority in the parliamentary elections. “The candidate will be the choice of all voters, not only ethnic Hungarians, which account for 12-13% of the residents in Zakarpattya. So, seeing as Ukraine has reinstated majoritarian constituencies, why not give Hungarians an opportunity to elect their candidate as was the case back in 1998 and 2002?” he said and stated the belief that Ukraine’s electoral authority would give the go-ahead to the initiative soon.

Asked whether the jailed opposition leader can count on further EU assistance, Mr. Bayer said: “It is not the job of the EU to settle the problems that Ukraine is currently facing. In autumn, on behalf of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, a statement was issued regarding Tymoshenko that was coordinated with 27 countries. It reflects the opinion of all EU members.”

7,000 ethnic Ukrainians live in Hungary and 155,000 ethnic Hungarians live in Ukraine, almost exclusively in Zakarpattya oblast.

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