Hungary asks Ukraine to mull proposals on settling 'language issue'
Budapest has made two proposals to Kyiv on resolving the problem of members of the Hungarian ethnic minority living in Ukraine's Zakarpattia (Trans-Carpathian) region having to study the Ukrainian language in school.
"We have made two proposals, and I've asked Ms. Education Minister to ensure that Ukraine mulls these proposals. We agreed that Ms. Education Minister would urgently meet with representatives of the Union of Teachers of Zakarpattia and find a solution based on these negotiations," Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said at a news briefing with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv on Friday.
Asked to assess the steps Ukraine has made to implement a Venice Commission decision concerning its language policy, Szijjarto replied that, if Budapest was contented with it, it would not have made new proposals.
"I do hope that the [Ukrainian] Education Ministry will mull these two proposals we made today. If we were contented with the current situation, we would not have made proposals to improve the situation," he said.
Hungary understands that Ukraine wants all of its citizens to be able to speak Ukrainian, while Budapest wants the ethnic Hungarians living in Zakarpattia also to have the chance to retain their native language, Szijjarto said. "We believe these two goals can be attained simultaneously. We believe this is a matter of methodology," he said.
Both Ukraine's and Hungary's objectives can well be attained, Szijjarto said. There are ways to make sure that ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine learn the Ukrainian language "even without gradually increasing the number of Ukrainian-language subjects they have to study," he said.
Hungary would be happy to provide financial and methodological support to make Ukrainian-language lessons in Zakarpattia much more efficient, Szijjarto said.