The OSCE’s high commissioner for national minorities, Lamberto Zannier, shares concerns about Ukraine’s education law, the foreign minister said on Tuesday in Palermo, where he is attending the OSCE Mediterranean Conference.
Speaking to MTI by phone after talks with Zannier, Péter Szijjártó said the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was the most helpful international organisation whose assistance Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece had sought out.
“We agreed that everyone must fulfil their international obligations,” Szijjártó said.
And in its association agreement with the European Union, Ukraine made a commitment to continually expand minority rights, Szijjártó noted. Yet the adoption of its education law is “diametrically opposed” to that commitment, he said.
As regards his talks with Zannier, Szijjártó said the former OSCE secretary-general himself had also brought up the issue of the education law with Ukrainian officials and is following the issue closely.
Szijjártó said Zannier would soon pay a visit to Ukraine to discuss the law with officials in person.
“Hungary and the Hungarian government will always stand up for the interests of ethnic Hungarians living beyond the border,” the minister said.
“We consider the Ukrainian amendment unacceptable and will not rest until Transcarpathian Hungarians say that their situation is satisfactory.”
Ukraine’s new rules on education banning post-primary-level education in minority languages were signed into law last month. The move triggered protest in several neighbouring countries.
As we wrote last Saturday, Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party will not support the Ukrainian governing party’s admission to the European People’s Party (EPP) as long as Ukraine fails to amend its education law to guarantee mother-tongue education to ethnic minorities from kindergarten to university