Hungary will not give consent to the start of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union until the Ukrainian side repeals laws that discriminate against Transcarpathian Hungarians, stated “RIA Novosti” Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of the country Peter Szijjarto.
According to the Hungarian leadership, rights are being violated by the education law – due to amendments adopted in schools where children were previously taught in the Hungarian language, this is now partially happening.
“This is unacceptable. This is contrary to all international norms. This also contradicts European standards. Therefore, when a decision is made to begin negotiations on Ukraine’s accession, Hungary will not be able to give its consent until the Hungarians are given back their rights,” Szijjártó said.
According to him, now the level of teaching in Hungarian in schools fluctuates between 20-40%. The minister also noted that the situation has been worsening since 2015 and it has nothing to do with Russia’s special operation. The Council of Europe, on the initiative of Hungary and Romania, appealed to the Venice Commission regarding the situation of national minorities in Ukraine, and Budapest hopes that Kyiv will be forced to implement the decision. Until then, Budapest will not support Ukraine’s movement into the EU and NATO, Szijjarto added.
At the end of September, that Hungary will not support Ukraine at any international forum until the rights of the Transcarpathian Hungarians are returned, stated Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a speech before the country’s parliament.
On September 19, Hungarian President Katalin Nowak, speaking at the UN General Assembly, said that 115,000 ethnic Hungarians live in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. She called on Kyiv to protect and respect the rights of national minorities “not in words, but in deeds.”
Previously, the Hungarian authorities have repeatedly emphasized that they will not support Ukraine’s desire to join the EU until Kyiv stops violating the rights of Transcarpathian Hungarians, including their right to study in local schools and universities in their native language.
On September 21, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a law on national minorities, according to which it is allowed to use the languages of national minorities in advertising, during various events and when providing assistance, as well as to publish free textbooks for schoolchildren. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe gave a corresponding recommendation to Kyiv in June. After this, the Secretary of State of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry for Bilateral Relations, Tamás Menczer, said that the commission’s decision indicates the right of national minorities living in Ukraine to study in their native language.