The fate of Hungarian minorities is not up for bargain, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, calling on Ukraine to withdraw the provisions of its education law that violate the rights of minorities.
Péter Szijjártó told a news conference that the new Ukrainian law, which restricts teaching in the mother tongue for minorities, violated the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Hungary, he said, will call for a revision of the agreement at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. The Association Council will have to be convened and Hungary will initiate putting termination of the association agreement on the agenda, the minister added.
A qualified majority will be needed for the measure to pass, Szijjártó noted.
If Ukraine fails to take the necessary measures, trade-related penalties may take effect, he said. Ukraine, he noted, plans to take steps towards further EU integration, but Hungary will block them as long as the law remains in its current form.
the new law detrimentally affects 71 educational institutions in western Ukraine, where the majority of ethnic Hungarians live.
He said the argument that the law was needed to improve the Ukrainian language skills of minorities was a “cynical lie”, and Hungary would rebut this in all international forums. Education in the mother tongue and knowledge of Ukrainian can develop in parallel, he said.
As we wrote today, Ukraine’s education law violates the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said today and added that he would initiate the review of the agreement at next Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Last week, the Council of Europe (CoE) shares Hungary’s concerns related to the Ukraine education law, a letter sent by CoE Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland to Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on last Friday showed.
The minister said he would bring up the issue with his Ukrainian counterpart at a meeting in Budapest on Thursday.