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Klimkin on review of education law by Venice Commission: enough space for both languages

The Commission found the strengthening of the Ukrainian language not only lawful but also commendable
21:41, 11 December 2017

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, in his column for Evropeiska Pravda, wrote about the conclusions of the Venice Commission as to whether the education law recently adopted in Ukraine doesn’t break any laws.

“The Venice Commission stated that the Ukrainian law, being a framework provision, leaves enough space for the comprehensible study of the mother tongue by the ethnic minorities. The specific provisions and details are to be set out in the separate Plan on the implementation of the Education law, and then, if necessary, in the law on General secondary education, which is being drawn up at the moment,” he noted.

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

According to Klimkin, these provisions and documents will be drawn up while consulting the ethnic communities.

The Foreign Minister also emphasized that it’s highly important that the Commission found the strengthening of the state language not only lawful but also commendable. “As it’s the main aim of the law,” he wrote.

Klimkin is sure that the reaction of the neighbouring European countries brought to light another political issue.

“So it means that Ukraine isn’t allowed to do what other countries are, so it means that we, the Ukrainians, will stay comforting for everyone else, without our will or our priorities. Our partners should realize as soon as possible that we are an equal country – no more, but also no less. And then we won’t have problems like this,” Klimkin believes.

Related: Hungary sets two conditions towards Ukrainian education law

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.

Ukraine has been explaining the provisions of the law, emphasizing that the diasporas and Embassies of the countries will be consulted before any changes to the schools that teach in the languages of national minorities are made.

Related: Venice Commission did not support Hungary’s complaints over education law

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