Differences remain between Hungary, Ukraine over education law

2017-10-13 01:42:03 GMT2017-10-13 09:42:03(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BUDAPEST, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Differences remain between the Hungarian and Ukrainian standpoints concerning the recently adopted Ukrainian education law, but parties welcomed the continuous dialogue, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said here Thursday.

"Hungary and Ukraine judge the Ukrainian education law completely differently," Szijjarto said at a press conference following discussions with his Ukrainian colleague Pavlo Klimkin, who assured that the law was not directed against people.

Szijjarto explained that the real problem was that the Hungarian ethnic minority living in Ukraine also viewed the new education law differently from the Ukrainian government.

"Hungary does not want debates and struggles with Ukraine, but demands that Hungarian minorities in Transcarpathia enjoy the same rights as before the adoption of the law," he said.

According to the new law, the national minorities in Ukraine will be educated from the 5th grade upwards in Ukrainian language. This concerns all subjects, except for the subjects of the mother tongue (like grammar and literature).

The Hungarian chief of diplomacy underlined that consultations between the two countries would be effective after the application of the relevant part of the law was suspended.

He repeated that the policy of Hungary's cross-border policy was determined by the position of the Hungarian communities living beyond the borders.

Early this week, Szijjarto asked for the opinion of Transcarpathian Hungarians and, according to their assessment, the previous broader-based mother tongue education rights were being disrupted by the new law.

Szijjarto said the law goes against the Association Agreement with the European Union, adding that a revision of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement would be initiated.

He said he appreciated that Klimkin had come to Budapest and "has chosen the path of dialogue in this extremely difficult time".

Klimkin said that every citizen should speak Ukrainian in addition to his native language. Ukraine is open to dialogue in bilateral and international frameworks, he underlined.

The new law should only be criticized after it is actually executed, he added.