- 30 Oct 2017 7:50 AM
Up until early September, Hungary had been among the “loudest and most active supporters” of Ukraine’s integration efforts but the approval of the Ukrainian education law has been seen by Hungary as a “stab in the back”.
“We would still be happy” to support Ukraine’s integration efforts but Hungary will only support countries whose decisions and behaviour justify this, he added.
When Ukraine’s parliament approved the education law, Hungary immediately stated that all diplomatic means would be used to make Ukrainian legislators withdraw the legislation which “brutally violates” the rights of ethnic minorities living in the country.
The law represents a serious step back in the area of minority rights which “must not be left unmentioned”, Szijjártó said. At the same time, he said, Hungary is still open to consultations.
“The stakes are high” since the drafts for a new language law and citizenship law are currently on the agenda of Ukraine’s parliament and represent a threat to the ethnic Hungarian minority in Ukraine, he said. Hungary’s failure to take action now could be interpreted as an encouragement for Ukraine to approve the bills, he said.
Hungary will continue to take further diplomatic steps until ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine state that the situation has been resolved, Szijjártó added.
In response to a question, he said the Hungarian decision cannot be ignored because unequivocal support is needed for the NATO-Ukraine Commission to be convened. News portal Origo reported on Friday that Hungary had vetoed the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which was scheduled for December 6.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Illyés Tibor