Hungary calls on Ukraine to suspend the implementation of its education law until the agreement is reached on details with Transcarpathia Hungarians, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Friday.
Szijjártó is in Sofia for a two-day informal meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union.
Speaking to MTI by phone after discussing regional security issues with officials of EU candidate countries, Szijjártó said
respect for minority rights was a key aspect of security.
Ukraine — a country looking to move closer to EU integration — has recently seriously violated international law on the protection of minority rights which are also strictly enforced by the EU, the minister said.
Szijjártó accused Kiev of having launched an “international smear campaign” against Hungary and Transcarpathia Hungarians, saying that Ukraine Hungarians had stayed away from a consultation on the education law with the Ukrainian government, as recommended by the Venice Commission. But in fact, he said, the government wanted to consult the Hungarian community on a new law that would have been based on the contested stipulations passed last year. He insisted that representatives of the local Hungarian community had not been invited to discuss the education law. If they had shown up for the consultations, it would have signalled an approval of the education law on their part, he argued.
Szijjártó speculated that
the Ukrainian government had launched its “smear campaign” to “hide the fact that they couldn’t care less about the Venice Commission’s decision” on the education law.
Ukraine’s new rules on education banning post-primary-level education in minority languages were signed into law by the president last September.
Photo: MTI/EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller