Ukraine education law ‘stab in the back’ for Hungary, says foreign minister
Ukraine “stabbed Hungary in the back” by passing an election law “that severely violates” the rights of its Hungarian minority, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after an informal meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Tallinn on Thursday.
“We consider it shameful that the amendment seriously violates the rights of the Hungarian minority,” Szijjártó told MTI by phone. “It is shameful that a country striving for increasingly closer ties with the EU has passed a law that goes directly against European values.”
“It is unacceptable that Hungarians living in Ukraine have been stripped of their right to be taught in their native language in secondary school and university,” the minister said, noting that education in minority languages has been restricted to kindergartens and primary schools. He said the amendment threatened the operations of a significant number of Hungarian schools in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region.
Szijjártó said the law was also in violation of Ukraine’s international commitments. He vowed that the Hungarian government would challenge the amendment in every European forum in an effort to prevent it from taking effect.
The minister said Ukraine’s adoption of the law was “especially unfriendly” towards Hungary in light of the amount of help Hungary has given the country in advancing its European integration process and improving its social and security situation.
“We were the most vociferous supporters of granting Ukraine visa-free status,” Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary was also among the first EU member states to ratify Ukraine’s association agreement with the bloc.
He noted that Hungary had donated 600 million forints (EUR 1.95m) to Ukraine in humanitarian aid, has hosted 2,600 Ukrainian children in summer camps over the past three years and that the country also receives gas via Hungary.
The meeting was also attended by the EU’s Eastern partner countries, including Ukraine.
As we published the Jobbik’s view, it is a violation of Ukraine’s international commitments and the Hungary-Ukraine Treaty, as well as an outrageous and unacceptable act that the Ukrainian Parliament approved at second reading the bill that could be the basis for the complete elimination of Hungarian language education in public primary and secondary schools and higher education institutions. Local members and supporters have informed Jobbik that many Hungarian parents are planning to take their children out of the schools and likely bring them over to Hungary.