Today: Tuesday, 21 May 2024 year

Szijjarto told what Ukraine needs to join the EU.

Szijjarto told what Ukraine needs to join the EU.

Kyiv must provide powerful guarantees for the observance of the rights of national minorities if it wants to join the European Union, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.

Tensions in relations between Ukraine and Hungary arose against the background of discussions about the Ukrainian law on education, which significantly reduces the possibility of education in the languages ​​of national minorities. The law entered into force on September 28, 2017 and was to be introduced in stages by the end of 2020.

Earlier, Szijjártó said that Hungary would continue to block the holding of a ministerial meeting of the Ukraine-NATO commission because there was no progress in resolving issues that concern Budapest.

“I would not go so far, but I can tell you that the protection of national communities is one of the main principles of the European Union,” Szijjarto said, answering the question whether it can be considered that Ukraine will not join the EU until it restores the rights Hungarians.

“So if someone wants to move towards the European Union, he must have very strong guarantees in his national legislation to protect the rights of national communities,” he added.

According to him, Budapest wants the Hungarians living on the territory of Ukraine to be given back the rights that they had before 2014.

“Since 2014, the Ukrainian Rada and the Ukrainian administration have been violating the rights of the Hungarians step by step. They have found themselves in a situation in which minority schools will be liquidated by September of this year. This is unacceptable for us,” the minister stressed.

He added that at the end of 2022, Kyiv adopted a new law on ethnic communities, which further aggravated the situation.

“I just don’t understand… why Ukrainians do this and why they don’t give Hungarians back the rights they used to have: access to education in their native language – from elementary school to university, rational access to their native language in the media, in public administration. Therefore we call on Ukraine to return these rights to the Hungarians,” the Foreign Minister stressed.

Szijjarto previously stated that on the initiative of Hungary and Romania, the Council of Europe decided to apply to the Venice Commission regarding the situation of national minorities in Ukraine, Budapest hopes that Kiev will be forced to comply with its decision.

Before that, the Ukrainian language ombudsman Taras Kremin said that schools in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, where many Hungarians live, revealed problems in organizing education in the Ukrainian language. According to local media reports, Hungarian flags were removed from public institutions in the city of Mukachevo and local villages, and several heads of Hungarian institutions close to the Society of Hungarian Culture of Transcarpathia were fired. State Secretary of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry for Bilateral Relations Tamas Menzer called the oppression of the Hungarian national minority in Ukrainian Transcarpathia unacceptable and called on local authorities to stop “atrocities” against the Hungarians.

Hungarian President Katalin Novaks said that in a letter to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, she made comments about the law on national minorities regarding the situation of Hungarians in Transcarpathia, but he did not respond.

In October, the authorities of the city of Mukachevo in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine decided to dismantle the Hungarian symbols – the turul eagle, located in the Palanok castle, and replace it with a Ukrainian trident. The head of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, Peter Szijjarto, said that a protest had been expressed to a representative of the Ukrainian embassy.