Hungary turns to international organisations over Ukrainian education bill
The Hungarian government is to call on the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the UN and the EU Commissioner for neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations to act on the Ukrainian education bill curbing the right to minority language education, the foreign minister told a press conference on Monday.
It is Hungary’s duty to protect all Hungarians, whether they live in the country or abroad, Péter Szijjártó said.
Under an amendment approved by the Ukrainian parliament last Tuesday but not yet signed by President Petro Poroshenko, education in minority languages in Ukraine would be restricted to kindergartens and primary schools.
Commenting on the changes, Szijjártó said the amendment threatened the operations of a significant number of Hungarian schools in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia/Kárpátalja region.
The minister said the legislation was also in violation of Ukraine’s international commitments. He said Hungary was ready to use all international forums to stop the implementation of the “outrageous” bill, which “makes minority language education virtually impossible from the 5th grade upwards”, he said.
Hungary is going to withhold support for all Ukrainian initiatives in international organisations, as well as for causes important to that country, Szijjarto said.
Commenting on the developments on the closure of a Catholic secondary school attended mostly by Hungarian students in Targu Mures (Marosvásárhely), Romania, Szijjártó praised “the approach and measures” of the Romanian head of government, Mihai Tudose. All that was achieved, however, was that the Hungarian students now attended another Hungarian school, he said. “This is clearly not the end of the issue”, he said. Until the matter is resolved, Hungary refuses to back Romania’s bid for OECD membership, he said.
Green opposition LMP’s co-leader Bernadett Szél told a press conference on Monday that LMP is calling on all parties to sign a document asking Poroshenko to refuse signing the education bill into law. She said minority language use should be an issue uniting all Hungarian politicians above party lines, and lamented that the ruling parties had stayed away from the demonstration organised by the opposition during the weekend against the bill.