He was reporting during a debate in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Thursday on the subject "The new Ukrainian law on education: a major impediment to the teaching of national minorities' mother tongues," an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
"The first principle is that knowledge of the official language of a state is a factor of social cohesion and integration, and it is legitimate for states to promote the learning of the official language," Herkel said.
He noted that in Ukraine it was equitable to worry about Ukrainian as a state language and there was a need to take additional measures to consolidate its role in Ukrainian society.
The Estonian MP said that perhaps the education law was intended to promote such a position.
"As a rapporteur, I am in a delicate situation, because the legal conclusions should include the opinion of the Venice Commission, which is expected only at the end of this year. So, we look forward to them," Herkel said.
He said that in his report, he tries to keep balance and take into account the interests of all parties.
At the same time, he expressed one of the arguments on which the claim to the Ukrainian side in built in terms of adopting the law on education. It means that the Verkhovna Rada considered a sensitive bill without first submitting it to the Venice Commission for examination, but did so only after approval.
On the other hand, he said, language is a significant component of the identity of certain groups of the population, so there cannot be discrimination here.
It should be noted that the debate did not cause much interest among most PACE members. The majority of representatives of political groups, except for Ukrainian, Hungarian and Romanian deputies, was absent in the hall.
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