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Hungary denies reaching consensus with Ukraine on education law

Foreign Ministry representatives met in Uzhgorod for bilateral consultations; the Ukrainian side claims they reached agreement on this matter
09:05, 9 February 2018

112 Agency

Hungarian Foreign Ministry denied reaching any agreement regarding the education law passed by the Ukrainian Parliament last autumn. Hungary's Tamas Mentzer and Ukraine's Vasyl Bodnar met in Uzhgorod, western Ukraine for bilateral consultations. While the Ukrainian side described the situation as 'having reached the consensus on major positions of settling the situation,' the Hungarian representative refuted this.

'No agreement made; Ukraine still avoids fulfilling recommendations of the Venice Commission,' Mentzer said. He added that the stance of the Hungarian government remains the same: Ukraine cannot implement the law on education before it settles the issues with national minorities, including those with Hungarians living in Zakarpattya region, the westernmost region of Ukraine, which borders.

Earlier, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that his office demands legal guarantees from Ukraine that the application of a new law on education in Ukraine will begin after reaching an agreement with the Hungarian national minority in Transcarpathia. This was stated in the message on the Hungarian MFA website.   

"Ukraine should not enact the education law, which it was not previously agreed with representatives of the Hungarian national minority. Promises are not sufficient, we need legal guarantees, " Szijjártó wrote.

The Hungarian diplomat once again claims that by adopting the law, Ukraine violated international norms on the protection of national minorities.

Szijjártó threat that Hungary will reserve the right to block all international initiatives of Ukraine within the EU and NATO, if the legal guarantees are not granted.

Related: Ukrainian Parliament speaker says no alterations to education law to be made

As we reported the Venice Commission did not support Hungary’s accusations of infringement of ethnic minorities’ rights by the recently adopted education law in Ukraine.

The new law on education was signed by Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko on September 25. In particular, it introduces a 12-year-long school program and limits the number of subjects taught in the languages of national minorities. This particular decision evoked outrage in Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Hungary. Budapest even threatened to slow down the process of Ukraine’s integration with the EU.

Related: Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry agrees upon ways of implementing language article of education law with Hungarian counterparts

Related: Hungary demands from Ukraine legal guarantees on education law

Related: Ukraine, Romania work out document on implementation of education law

Related: Ukraine, Romania discuss controversial education law

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