Zsolt Németh, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, on Tuesday slammed as “unacceptable” Ukrainian laws which he said discriminated against ethnic Hungarians in the country.
Addressing a roundtable discussion on language rights in Ukraine organised by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Németh said that though Ukraine had accepted certain recommendations regarding changes it should make to laws on language use and education, it had failed to fully implement the Venice Commission’s proposals on the matter.
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He said that hopefully Ukraine will ask the Venice Commission to issue an opinion on its new law on national minorities before passing it. Németh said that
It’s time for Hungary and Ukraine to engage in high-level talks. The legitimate representatives of Hungary and the Transcarpathian Hungarian community are prepared to do so.”
He said the recommendation issued by the Venice Commission in December had provided great help to those who consider the issue of minorities important. Németh said the recommendation and the support of the Hungarian government would be helpful in improving Hungarian-Ukrainian relations and eliminating restrictions on ethnic Hungarians’ rights to use their native language.
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Fidesz MEP Andrea Bocskor urged calling greater attention to the “serious rights abuses in Ukraine”. She warned that Ukraine’s enactment of the laws in question would lead to the assimilation of the country’s minority communities.
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“If Ukraine wants to undergo a democratic transition, if it wants to belong to the European community, it will have to abide by the rules and meet the expectations that come with it,” Bocskor said. “It cannot carry on with the nationalist policies that hamper the country’s European integration.”
In the featured photo: Zsolt Németh. Photo by Balázs Mohai/MTI