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Jun 19, 2018

Foreign minister calls on Council of Europe to take protecting European minorities seriously

The minister said it was wrong for a European institution to concern itself with Hungary’s “Stop Soros” law aimed at ensuring the security of the Hungarian people rather than with the Hungarians of western Ukraine “whose rights are being seriously breached”

Hungary’s foreign minister has called on the Council of Europe to take the issue of protecting European minorities seriously.

During a two-day conference on the protection of minorities and regional and minority languages in Strasbourg, Péter Szijjártó said the various European institutions paid for by European taxpayers were more concerned about illegal migrants than national minorities that have dwelled in Europe for centuries. “This is unacceptable,” he said.

The minister added that it was wrong for a European institution to concern itself with Hungary’s “Stop Soros” law aimed at ensuring the security of the Hungarian people rather than with the Hungarians of western Ukraine “whose rights are being seriously breached,” he said.

According to MTI, the minister said one of Europe’s most important values is protecting minority rights and the Council of Europe should take this seriously.

Minister Szijjártó said Transcarpathian Hungarians had been stripped of one of their minority rights, and although the CoE had supported Hungary verbally, none of the Venice Commission’s recommendations had been implemented by Ukraine.

He said the law which deprives students of their right to study in their mother tongue is being implemented in the absence of any agreement between the Ukrainian government and Hungarian minority organizations.

“It just can’t be true that some European countries who are members of the Council of Europe are ignoring the opinion of the Venice Commission and trampling over minority rights,” he said.

Hungary expects the Council of Europe to uphold proposals earlier made by the Venice Commission and urge Ukraine to withdraw measures that seriously undermine the rights of the Hungarian minority, he added.

Minister Szijjártó vowed that the Hungarian government would continue to do everything to provide support in protection of the rights of national minorities.