Hungary not to back Ukraine-NATO ties until fulfilment of Venice Commission recommendations on education law
Hungary will not support relations between Ukraine and NATO until the Ukrainian state complies with the recommendations of the Venice Commission in terms of the law on education, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said.
"The decision of the Hungarian government is unequivocal. The Venice Commission has made recommendations and until such recommendations are fulfilled, we cannot support Ukraine's relations with NATO [...] A NATO meeting on security in the Black Sea, to which Ukraine and the Ukrainian president will be invited, will be held in Brussels in July. We have no objection as to how your president is invited to this event," Szijjarto said in Zakarpattia region on Friday, when asked about the possibility of Hungary's unblocking the Ukraine-NATO summit.
He also recalled that he had held consultations on these issues with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
As reported, the Ukrainian law on education came into force on September 28, 2017. Among other things, the law stipulates that the state language is a language of instruction at educational institutions, but one or several subjects in two or more languages, namely, the state language, English and other European Union official languages can be taught in compliance with the educational program. People who belong to ethnic minorities are guaranteed the right to study in the native language along with the Ukrainian language in separate groups of municipal pre-school and primary school institutions.
On September 26, Hungary's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced it would block Ukraine's rapprochement with the European Union because of the law on education. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry sent the law to the Venice Commission for vetting. On December 8, the Ukrainian Education and Science Ministry reported that the Venice Commission had not supported Hungary's accusation of narrowing the ethnic minorities' rights in the article on the language of instruction in Ukraine's law on education. Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science declared its readiness to implement the recommendations of the commission and developed three models for the implementation of the language article in the law on general secondary education.
A meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission, which was to be held on February 14 or 15 as part of a meeting of defense ministers of all member countries of the alliance, was blocked by Hungary, which applied the right of veto.
In April, Hungary blocked a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO commission at the level of foreign ministers.