Kiev is ready to change the rules for language use in schools in order to join the European Union. However, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna stressed that ethnic minorities need to learn Ukrainian to take advantage of opportunities across the country.
Negotiations are expected to start this week, with the main focus on education and language use for minorities in Ukraine, the Financial Times writes.
The British business newspaper quoted the Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Olha Stefanishyna, saying that Ukraine was ready to change laws affecting national minorities such as Hungarians in Transcarpathia, provided that the right balance is found between teaching in Ukrainian and in other languages.
According to the politician, Kyiv is ready to change laws affecting national minorities in order to facilitate its accession process to the European Union.
As Ungarn Heute reported earlier, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, has repeatedly stressed that Hungary cannot support Ukraine’s next step towards EU integration until the rights of Hungarians living in Transcarpathia are restored.
The Financial Times emphasizes that apart from corruption problems, measures affecting the rights of national minorities have been the biggest obstacle to Ukraine’s EU accession process so far.
Negotiations between Ukraine and Hungary, as well as Ukraine and Romania, are expected to start this week, with the main focus on education and language use of minorities in Ukraine,
the newspaper reports.
However, the talks are not expected to bring immediate results, because as Stefanischyna says, the Ukrainian side is convinced that the current system is already “working well.” However, contrary to her opinion, Hungarians living in Ukraine are complaining of systematic harassment and a campaign of intimidation, such as the ones at the Francis II Rákóczi High School in Mukachevo (Munkács, Ukraine), where the Hungarian headmaster and two deputies were replaced with Ukrainian management without explanation. Their declared goal was to teach Hungarian as a foreign language at the school.
As Hungary Today reported, despite criticism, the new school management refused to allow the use of Hungarian symbols at the opening of the school year, a move that the chairman of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association (KMKSZ) considered a threat to the chances of maintaining quality Hungarian-language education. In his view, the use of national symbols does not violate legal provisions and has been a common practice in minority teaching and educational institutions since Ukraine’s independence.
Via Financial Times, Ungarn Heute, Featured image: Facebook/KMKSZ – Kárpátaljai Magyar Kulturális Szövetség