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Jan 25, 2018

Hungary's FM: Government demands legal guarantees from Ukraine over Education Act

Hungary’s foreign minister met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Paris to discuss the Ukraine Education Act

Hungary’s foreign minister met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Paris yesterday

The “extraordinary Hungarian-Ukrainian-American trilateral meeting” took place to discuss the Ukraine Education Act at the Hotel Intercontinental in Paris.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary wants a legal guarantee that the Ukrainian government will consult with its Hungarian minority and reach an agreement before implementing any changes to its education law.

Minister Szijjártó noted that Hungary had stated multiple times that the education law restricting public education in minority languages to kindergarten and primary-school students, severely infringed on the acquired rights of the Hungarian community.

“Ukraine must not implement a law on education without reaching an agreement first with representatives of the local Hungarian community,” the minister said.

He added that the Hungarian government insisted on receiving the relevant legal guarantees from Kiev. He said it would be wrong to present the issue purely as a Hungarian-Ukrainian conflict.

“Ukraine has violated basic international standards on the protection of minorities,” he said, citing rules set down by the Council of Europe as well as the NATO action plan that Ukraine has pledged to implement.

According to MTI, Hungary stands “foursquare” behind the EU and CoE on the issue, and expects Ukraine to amend its public education law to comply with international law and the recommendations of the Venice Commission.

Ukraine’s Klimkin has agreed to start consultations with representatives of Ukraine’s ethnic minorities, but Hungary has demanded legal guarantees. “Without such guarantees, Hungary will not give up blocking all Ukrainian projects within NATO and the EU,” he said.

Minister Szijjártó said the US involvement is to eliminate conflicts among allies in a geopolitically significant area. “This serves our purposes,” he said.