Hungary to demand revising EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

11.10.2017, Hungary.

The Ukrainian Education Act violates the norms of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement; therefore, Hungary is going to launch a revision of this Agreement, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on October 9 at a meeting with Transcarpathian Hungarians, the Magyar Nemzet newspaper reports.

The Minister promised to initiate a revision of the Association Agreement at the coming meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers in Luxemburg to be held on October 16.

He stressed that the new Ukrainian act exposes Hungarians and other Ukrainian national minorities to worse conditions than in the former Soviet system.

“In the 21st century, near the EU, closing schools because of teaching in national languages cannot be tolerated,” Szijjártó said. He added that the Association Agreement requires empowerment of national minorities. In response, he promised to step up the international pressure on Ukraine.

Also, the Hungarian Minister responded to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin’s proposal to visit Hungary and discuss the language issue. Szijjártó said that his Ukrainian colleague’s proposal was too late.

On September 25, the President of Ukraine Pyotr Poroshenko signed a new Education Act. According to the Act, from 2018 only Ukrainian language can be used in secondary schools and universities. In primary schools, teaching in “national minority languages” will be banned from 2020.

The new Act met criticism from Russia, Romania, Poland, Moldavia, Greece, and Hungary. The Chairman of the Hungarian Government János Lázár said that it was “shameful and intolerable” to pass this Act and that Ukraine would “lose Budapest as a friend”. Hungary’s Foreign Minister demanded an investigation to be launched by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also said on September 26 that Hungary would close the Ukraine’s way to the European integration. In response, Poroshenko said on September 28 that the signed Act’s provisions might be revised in a dialogue with EU countries.

Editorial comment

Surprisingly, the same European countries that now claim intolerable the closing of national schools near the EU in the 21st century ignored a similar situation with Russian-speaking schools. Moreover, they ignored the closing of Russian schools not only in Ukraine but also in the Baltic States, which are EU members, not just countries “near the EU”. Perhaps, some of the European partners in the former socialist block will realize now that this bell tolls not only for Russia. Indeed, the anti-Russian apartheid regime encouraged by the Western countries across the former USSR territory can be easily extended.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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