Hungary, Romania to seek changes in Ukrainian law on education

Hungary, Romania to seek changes in Ukrainian law on education

Hungary and Romania will act together to seek changes to the new Ukrainian law on education, regarding it as "a stab in the back," reads a report posted on the website of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry.

"It is totally natural and normal for Hungary and Romania to take joint action with regard to the amendment of Ukraine's Act on Education," Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said after a meeting with his Romanian counterpart Teodor Melescanu.

According to him, the education law violates the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, the conclusion of which was supported by both Hungary and Romania, and accordingly the two countries now regard the events as a "stab in the back."

Siairto said that the fact that both the language act and the nationality act were currently before Ukraine's parliament was also cause for concern.

As reported, on September 5, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law of Ukraine on education, which, in particular, regulates the use of the Ukrainian language in the field of education. On September 25, it was signed by President Petro Poroshenko.

The law stipulates that children from national minorities in Ukraine will continue to study their mother tongue, and from the secondary school they will begin to study in the state language. If the language of national minority belongs to the languages of the European Union, one or several disciplines may also be taught in that language.

At the same time, some countries that have a diaspora in Ukraine protested against the law's article that the children from national minorities should study in the Ukrainian language.

The government of Hungary, in particular, stated that it would block all future decisions by the European Union aimed at bringing Ukraine closer to the EU because of the law on education.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry sent the education law for examination by the Venice Commission.

Ukrainian Education and Science Minister Lilia Hrynevych said she was disappointed that the Hungarian government plans to block Ukraine's further rapprochement with the EU due to the signing of the law on education by President Poroshenko. She noted that there had been a lot of myths around this law, in particular, that schools with instruction in minority languages would be closed.

She said that Ukraine did not intend to close schools with education in the languages of national minorities. Quite the contrary, the law on education broadens the rights and opportunities of children of representatives of national minorities, in particular with regard to further training, opportunities for work in the public service, etc.

Poroshenko, in turn, noted that he was convinced of the need to strengthen the role of the Ukrainian language in education, while leaving free space for the development of languages spoken by Ukrainian citizens.

Deputy Head of Ukraine's Presidential Administration Kostiantyn Yeliseyev suggested that Budapest's reaction to the Ukrainian law on education was connected with the upcoming parliamentary elections in Hungary and was an attempt to divert attention from its own problems. The official noted that in this issue Ukraine was ready both for bilateral dialogue and for the involvement of international experts.

At the same time, Ukrainian First Deputy Parliament Speaker Iryna Gerashchenko said that deputies from the National Assembly (Parliament) of Hungary had refused to meet with a delegation of the Verkhovna Rada regarding explanations of the provisions of the education law, in particular, the language article.


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