Hungary's foreign ministry reveals there has been a significant step toward normalizing Hungarian-Ukrainian relations

Levente Magyar says there is a strong possibility of restoring friendly cooperation between the two countries

A state secretary for Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has revealed there has been a significant step toward normalizing Hungarian-Ukrainian relations and restoring the friendly cooperation between the two countries.

Levente Magyar made the remarks while on an official visit to Uzhhorod (Ungvár), where he met Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasyl Bodnar to review issues related to the new Ukrainian Education Act, cross-border cooperation and the development of border infrastructure.

Following negotiations, Levente believes there is a realistic chance of normalizing Hungarian-Ukrainian relations because the Ukrainian party has confirmed that despite the coming into force of the Education Act, no changes will be made to the minority education system without the prior approval of minority representatives.

“A series of negotiations will begin with Ukraine’s ministry of Education and representatives of the Transcarpathian Hungarian community, and a meeting will be held with Minister of Education Lilija Hrinevics on 14 February,” he said.

The state secretary added that in view of the Ukrainian party’s commitment during their meeting in Uzhhorod he feels there is an excellent chance of coming to an agreement, which would mean that the current status quo will not change until the Ukrainian government and the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia come to an agreement.

“We did not want to create an international affair out of the issue of minority language education in Ukraine; circumstances dictated that the stipulations of the newly adopted education act, which ignored the opinion of minorities and violated the previous obligations included in international agreements concluded with the European Union and NATO, brought about a situation in which Hungary was forced to intervene,” he said.

“I now see a serious chance that we will be able to leave this difficult period behind us and continue the extremely forward-looking cooperation that we have maintained with Ukraine since it gained independence,” he added.

Levente indicated that he and the Ukrainian minister had reviewed issues relating to projects aimed at developing relations, including the fact that Hungary would like to establish a motorway link with Ukraine in the coming years, develop rail travel with the launching of new rail services, and establish new border crossing points in the interests of making crossing the border more flexible.

“We came to the conclusion that these projects must in no way be hindered by any issues that are causing difficulties in our relations and which could hopefully be resolved within the coming weeks,” he underlined.