In reaction to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signing the country’s new education law yesterday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said Hungary would block and veto all moves in the EU which, as part of the eastern partnership programme, would advance Ukraine’s European integration process.
We can guarantee that all of this will hurt Ukraine in the future
Péter Szijjártó said that during a visit to Singapore, where he is part of a government delegation headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. According to the Hungarian government, Ukraine’s new rules restricting schooling in the mother tongue that the President has just signed into law deprives minorities of their rights and leads down a blind alley instead on the path to the European Union.
The law also violates several international agreements which Ukraine had promised to fulfil as part of its European Union accession plans, including making education and training available in the mother tongue at all levels, the Hungary’s Human Resources Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. “Hungary’s constitutional obligation is to raise its objections to the law at every international forum in the interest of protecting national minorities, including the Hungarian minority”, the statement said.
The Human Resources Minister has called on his Ukrainian counterpart to hold talks with the representatives of Hungarian communities in Transcarpathia (Kárpátalja) who have been left out of the legislative process. The Hungarian government said it would continue to be open for talks with Ukraine in the interest creating fair regulations governing minority language education. Furthermore, Hungary continues to offer humanitarian aid to its war-torn neighbour.
Ukraine’s controversial education law passed by parliament on September 5 states that its aim is to “modernize education”, through reforms to be introduced from September 2018. Concerning the language of education, the 7th paragraph of the law states that Ukraine’s official language in education is Ukrainian and the use of minority languages is allowed only in the first four grades of primary education.