“Hungary will not sacrifice the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia on the altar of world politics and will stand up to all attempts to place the Hungarian Government’s standpoint on Ukraine’s European aspiration into a mistaken geopolitical context”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Brussels of Friday following a summit of EU and Eastern Partnership countries’ heads of state and government.
“The decision is up to Ukraine, because if European and Euro-Atlantic integration is truly important to Ukraine, then it must fulfil its international obligations. It must retract its new Education Act, which violates the rights of minorities. If it does so, it can once again count on Hungary’s loud support, but not until then. There will be no change in this standpoint until Ukraine reinstates the rights of the Hungarian minority”, he underlined.
“In view of the fact that Hungary was one of the loudest supporters of Ukraine’s integration aspirations, it regarded the Ukrainian decision as a stab in the back, since the new Education Act was adopted by Parliament only 4 days after the association agreement came into force.
Hungary would be happy to support Ukraine’s integration aspirations in future, but that is currently impossible”, Mr. Szijjártó explained.
“We cannot and do not support these aspirations in view of the fact that Kiev is trampling on minority rights and has grossly violated the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, which came into force in early September”, he said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade told reporters: “As proof of the fact that this is not an exclusively Hungarian-Ukrainian issue, on Friday the Brussels summit adopted a joint statement in which, in accordance with Hungary’s aspirations, is stated: Respect for the already gained rights of national minorities must be assured in accordance with the conventions and decisions of the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Minorities must remain free from discrimination and the decisions of the Council of Europe must be fully conformed to”.
The adopted closing document opens a new chapter in the situation that has arisen because of Ukraine’s Education Act, because
this is the first time that the EU has put forward a unified stance in support of previously acquired rights within the field of education.
The significance of the event lies in the fact that Ukraine had no choice but to also adopt the document, he highlighted.
“However, the fact that Kiev has stated in advance that if the decision of the Venice Commission is unfavourable then they will not act according to the included recommendations raises doubts with relation to the rule of law in Ukraine. This is why it is an important step that the European Union, in agreement with its Eastern Partners, has now stated that the already acquired rights of national minorities cannot be removed”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said.
Source: press release – kormany.hu