The Hungarian standpoint on the Ukrainian education law was put forward as the European Union’s position in the Friday meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.
Ukraine passed a law in September which restricts public education in minority languages to kindergarten and primary school levels.
Hungary expects that the Ukrainian authorities should not curb already acquired minority rights, should cooperate with the minorities and fully comply with the Venice Commission’s opinion.
During the meeting, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said the EU expected the same from Ukraine. This “puts an end to the mendacious arguments” that the issue is merely a dispute between Hungary and Ukraine, Szijjártó said.
“The EU has clearly stated its expectations and these fully coincide with Hungary’s expectations,” Szijjártó said, adding that the related law violated Ukraine’s constitution, the closing document of the Eastern Partnership summit and the EU-Ukraine association agreement.
The Ukrainian prime minister told the meeting that Ukraine does not plan to restrict rights, Szijjártó said and expressed hope that the law in question would be brought in line with this approach.
Szijjártó reiterated that until a few months ago, Hungary had been the loudest advocate of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and “it only depends on Ukraine whether the same will happen in the future.” Hungary’s government will only consider the issue resolved if Ukraine’s ethnic Hungarian minority says it has been resolved, he added.
In response to a question, Szijjártó confirmed that the ambassadors of eleven NATO countries had asked him in a letter not to take this matter to the military alliance system. The minister said he had told the ambassadors of Holland and Norway that it would be wrong to interpret the issue as merely a bilateral dispute which Hungary had taken to NATO.
“We do not consider the situation between Russia and Ukraine as an excuse in any way for depriving ethnic Hungarian minorities of their rights; the two have nothing in common,”
Szijjártó said, adding that the letter had not been signed by the representatives of either the United States or any Visegrád Group country.
The minister declined to comment on a US decision concerning the status of Jerusalem but said the government had not addressed the issue and there was no change in Hungary’s policy towards the Middle East.
Featured image: MTI