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Sep 08, 2017

Hungary's FM: Ukraine "stabbed Hungary in the back" over law that violates the rights of Hungarian minority

“It is unacceptable that Hungarians living in Ukraine have been stripped of their right to be taught in their native language in secondary school and university,” Hungary's foreign minister said

Hungary's foreign minister has said that the Ukraine has "stabbed Hungary in the back" over its new education law that violates the rights of the Hungarian minority in the country.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, made the remarks after a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Tallinn on Thursday.

“We consider it shameful that the amendment seriously violates the rights of the Hungarian minority,” Minister Szijjártó said. “It is shameful that a country striving for increasingly closer ties with the EU has passed a law that goes directly against European values," he added.

“It is unacceptable that Hungarians living in Ukraine have been stripped of their right to be taught in their native language in secondary school and university,” the minister said.

According to MTI, the minister noted that education in minority languages has been restricted to kindergartens and primary schools in the country. He said the amendment threatened the operations of a significant number of Hungarian schools in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region.

Minister Szijjártó also noted that the law was in violation of Ukraine’s international commitments, and the Hungarian government would challenge the amendment in every European forum in an effort to prevent it from taking effect.

According to reports, the minister said Ukraine’s adoption of the law was “especially unfriendly” towards Hungary in light of the amount of help Hungary has given the country in advancing its European integration process and improving its social and security situation.

“We were the most vociferous supporters of granting Ukraine visa-free status,” Minister Szijjártó said. Hungary was also among the first EU member states to ratify Ukraine’s association agreement with the bloc, he added.

The minister noted that Hungary had donated 600 million HUF (1.95 million EUR) to Ukraine in humanitarian aid, has hosted 2,600 Ukrainian children in summer camps over the past three years and that the country also receives gas via Hungary.