Council of Europe urges Ukraine to adopt language bill after elections

Council of Europe urges Ukraine to adopt language bill after elections

The Council of Europe has called on the Verkhovna Rada to postpone the adoption of the bill "On ensuring the functioning of Ukrainian as a state language" until the post-election period.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic stated this on Tuesday, according to Ukrinform's correspondent in Strasbourg.

Mijatovic said that when discussing a new bill or reform of language policy, member states of the Council of Europe should carefully adhere to the balance between the legislative objective of supporting the state language and the duty to protect and support minority languages and preserve cultural diversity.

According to her, different linguistic communities should be effectively involved in the process of working out such laws and policies, and their views should be duly taken into account. In her opinion, in the context of the election campaign, such discussions are often polarized and do not contribute to the achievement of balanced solutions. In this regard, Mijatovic urged the Ukrainian parliament to postpone the approval of this important legislation until the post-election period.

On October 4, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted at first reading the bill "On ensuring the functioning of Ukrainian as a state language." The language bill was prepared for second reading for about four months. During this time, the Verkhovna Rada's committee on culture and spirituality worked out over 2,000 amendments to the document that were proposed by people's deputies.

In particular, the document proposes creating the national commission on the standards of the state language and introducing the post of commissioner for the protection of the state language.

Lawmakers started considering the document at second reading on February 28. The Verkhovna Rada continues to review amendments to the bill during March 12-15.


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