Worse than ever: Why did Ukrainian-Hungarian relations deteriorate?

Author : Vadym Tryukhan

Source :

Diplomat Vadym Tryukhan explains why now it is not possible to quickly remove tension from Ukrainian-Hungarian relations
16:18, 17 October 2017

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It is too early to draw conclusions as to how strong the resolution of the PACE harms Ukraine. This is not the end of the story. The first thing that I would like to emphasize - the position of Hungary and other states, including Romania, it is different. If the Romanians and our other critics, "friends", want to have the contact, the dialogue, then Hungary takes an extremely tough position. There is an explanation for this.

Firstly, in Hungary for a long time there were certain unfavorable processes for the government related to their law on education, and the criticism sounded, among other things, from the European Commission. They thus try to transfer the public's attention to Ukrainian theme in the mass media. And the second, look, who is in power? Fidesz political party, Mr. Orban. Who is the main competitor? Jobbik, the right-nationalist party. They will have elections in the spring, and now, in this way, the Fidesz Party and Orban personally are trying to unite the nuclear nationalist electorate and tear it away from Jobbik. So now I do not expect that it will be possible to remove this tension very quickly, but gradually, gradually, I think it will decrease, and the corresponding compromises will be found after the conclusion of the Venice Commission.

Related: Education law creates unfavorable conditions for education in national minorities' languages

In my opinion, there is nowhere to damage relations between Hungary and Ukraine further. They are now at the lowest point, as people say. But we must pay attention to the fact that this is not the first such action, similar we saw in 2014, then there was no such tension in our relations, and the Hungarian government condemned it. And now, I think, there is more than one such irritant. But we must pay attention to this: we, Ukrainians, need to learn from Hungarians how to protect the interests of Ukrainians abroad. It is necessary to take a definite lesson from this situation and continue to strive more vigorously for the interests of our minority. We have more than 10 million Ukrainians abroad. We are in the top five countries by the number of our diaspora abroad. It seems to me that we do not do enough for Ukrainians who live abroad and do a lot for Ukraine. Whatever the situation is, Hungary is an EU member state. The only thing that Ukraine should pay attention to - in no case it should be subjected to humiliation.

Now, in my opinion, we need to take a break. The equivalent of their education minister will arrive to negotiate with Mrs. Grynevych on October 19 - these negotiations must be held. Then we have to clearly take such a position, that until the Venice Commission's conclusion is received, we stop any political discussions on this topic.

As reported, President Petro Poroshenko signed the law of Ukraine #2145 VII ‘On Education’ on September 25. Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia and Moldova expressed the protests towards the law.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Peter Szijjarto claimed that the government of Hungary decided to block all further decisions of the EU that aim for the rapprochement of the EU with Ukraine due to the ‘Law on Education’.

Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Liliia Grynevych announced the date of the negotiations between Ukraine and Hungary on ‘Law on Education’. The meeting is planned for October 19.

Related: Statements of Hungary on education law connected with elections and problems with EU

Related: Law on Education comes into force in Ukraine

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