Bratislava, May 15 (MTI) – A democratic Ukraine must observe community rights, for instance the rights of the local Hungarian community, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said addressing the Globsec 2014 forum in Bratislava today.
If Kiev fails to adhere, “we have a legitimate reason to be worried” about the democratic nature of that country, Orban said in response to a question about his earlier remarks on autonomy for Hungarians in Transcarpathia.
Asked what community rights he was referring to then, Orban said that Hungarians in Trasncarpathia themselves would decide what rights they wanted.
Orban said it was one of the most worrisome signs that after the new Ukraine was established it was among Kiev’s first decisions to eliminate a language law favourable for minorities.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who has recently criticised Orban for his statement on autonomy, saying it was unfortunate, told the forum after Orban’s address that “this one turned out better.”
After his re-election last Saturday, Orban told lawmakers in Hungarian parliament that ethnic Hungarians were entitled to dual citizenship, community rights and autonomy. “These are topical issues in light of the situation in neighbouring Ukraine where 200,000 ethnic Hungarians live,” he said.
Orban mentioned the Ukrainian crisis in general at Globsec. He said “our biggest enemy is hypocrisy” and added that there was not only a “Russia issue” but also a “Ukraine issue” to face. Challenges coming from Ukraine must be taken seriously, as there are no guarantees at the moment that a democratic government could emerge in Ukraine, Orban said, adding that “one can only hope”. The EU must therefore formulate its expectations towards Russia and Ukraine openly, he said.
Orban added that the “whole story” with Ukraine was a great blow for European and Central European competitiveness, because it made a Russia-EU pact based on mutual advantages and strategic economic cooperation impossible. He said, however, that “today we must use a Ukraine-friendly tone”.
Photo: MTI/Prime Minister’s Office – Barna Burger