Venice Commission to analyze Ukraine's language law

15:29, 23 May 2019
Ukraine
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Venice Commission / Photo from unba.org.ua

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"By a letter dated May 22, 2019, the Chair of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the Law on 'Ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a State language,'" reads a statement published on the Commission's website on May 22, as reported by the Ukrainian media outlet European Pravda.

As UNIAN reported earlier, outgoing President Petro Poroshenko on May 15, 2019, enacted the law on the Ukrainian language, which passed with a 278-38 majority. It requires all Ukrainian citizens to know the state language and that it be used while performing official duties. Those subject to the latter requirement will include politicians, judges, doctors, employees of the national bank and state-owned companies, officers in the military, teachers and others.

The law stipulates that the government shall organize Ukrainian language courses for adults and provide an opportunity for citizens of Ukraine to learn the national language free of charge if they had no such opportunity. According to the law, a person seeking Ukrainian citizenship is obliged to pass a Ukrainian language test. However, individuals who perform military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and are given a state award and those whose citizenship of Ukraine is of state interest for the country have the right to acquire Ukrainian citizenship without taking the language test, but remain obliged to master it within one year from the date they were granted Ukraine's citizenship.

There are exemptions for private communications and religious ceremonies.

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