The Hungarian government is initiating a new NATO policy on Ukraine for the protection of ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia, a memorandum issued on Tuesday shows.
The government said that despite the unprecedented level of political support and financial assistance provided by NATO, EU, IMF, World Bank and a large number of states, the Ukrainian government seems to lack the political will and the capacity to carry out the fundamental reform programs required by its international donors to overhaul the economic, political and social system of the country.
“The lack of progress in key reform areas and the continued assault of the state on minority rights have led to a dangerous level of instability. The failure to properly implement a credible modernisation agenda, aligned with the international commitments and criteria that Ukraine had previously agreed to, means that the already fragile country is becoming more vulnerable to domestic and external pressure,” the government said.
“Ukraine has come to pose a security challenge to its neighbours, including Hungary”, it added.
The government said that Ukraine was again ignoring a number of its international obligations and commitments while legislation aimed at curtailing minority rights was continuously introduced.
Kiev has embarked on a road of violating the already existing rights of minorities, it said.
The government cited the Ukrainian law on education as an example, stating that it is in breach of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the 2017 NATO Annual National Programme.
“The Hungarian government has repeatedly expressed its concern over Article 7 of the new Law on Education that severely restricts the opportunities to learn and receive education in minority language.
Ukraine has failed to conduct thorough consultations with representatives of the minorities prior to adopting the law and to date, the Ukrainian government has not responded constructively to Hungary’s proposals to reach a settlement,” it said.
“Despite promises that state otherwise, the Ukrainian government has started to implement the discriminatory regulation with immediate effect,” it added.
According to the Hungarian government, the Ukrainian state has weakened to the point that it now lacks the ability to perform its most fundamental duties such as to secure the rule of law, and provide effective economic, social and political management.
The government said that NATO’s current policy on Ukraine has not brought about the desired results. For instance, Kiev moved military troops back to its border with NATO after it had terminated its presence there years ago.
All this signals that “Ukraine is not able to comply with its obligations in various international organisations”.
In order to maintain Ukraine’s NATO integration process, it is imperative that Ukraine fulfils all obligations that it undertook in its annual national programme, among them the protection of minority rights. Laws adopted or to be adopted by the Ukrainian legislature are contrary to the commitments Ukraine had previously undertaken towards NATO. Furthermore, these laws directly harm the rights and interests of citizens and minority groups belonging to NATO member states, the government said.
“Therefore, to maintain Ukraine’s NATO integration process, we propose that the Ukrainian government ensures that minority groups belonging to NATO member states are exempted from the implementation of laws that restrict the rights of national minorities. While this solution does not, of course, meet the requirement of non-discrimination, it does, however, provide an opportunity to keep Ukraine on the path of NATO integration. Otherwise, the credibility of Ukraine’s integration process becomes highly questionable,” it said.
“In order to preserve stability in our immediate eastern neighbourhood, NATO must adapt its policy on Ukraine to these new circumstances,” the government said.
The memorandum will be sent to the prime ministers of all NATO member states and the secretary-general of the military alliance.