Skip to Content

Maidan: Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó

Hungary threatens to block Ukraine from EU after controversial language law

The Hungarian government has announced measures against efforts by the European Union aimed at bringing the EU closer to Ukraine.

Published: September 28, 2017, 8:48 am

    Read more

    Hungary has pledged to block Ukraine’s integration after Kiev enacted a controversial education law to restrict the use of minority languages in schools.

    The new law makes it illegal for education to be delivered in any other language but Ukrainian, despite sizeable European minorities present in the county.

    With the signing by of the language law, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the law “shameful,” and dismissed president Poroshenko’s declarations of closer cooperation with Europe outright. “They are far from Europe, because a huge step was taken in the opposite direction,” Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.

    “We can guarantee that this will hurt the future of Ukraine,” he added. His comments come two months ahead of the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels. Moreover, the statement of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that Ukraine “could forget about integration into Europe.” and also that “Hungary will block any initiatives beneficial to Ukraine in international organisations, especially in the EU”.

    Ethnic communities in Ukraine, including Poles, Romanians, and Hungarians are sceptical about Poroshenko’s hollow-sounding assurances about the law. Instead of assuaging the fears the fears minorities, the law has incensed officials in other countries neighbouring Ukraine.

    Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has canceled a planned visit to Kiev, warning that the legislation “drastically limits” minority groups’ access to their respective native languages.

    Russia too has noted the balatant discrimination aimed at Russian speakers in Ukraine month, saying that the legislation was designed to “forcefully establish a mono-ethnic language regime in a multinational state”.

    According to president Poroshenko, the new law “raises the role of Ukrainian as a state language in the education process” and “ensures equal opportunities for all”, which would in fact would not be the case. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin responded to minority concerns by calling the issue a mere “misunderstanding”.

    But a spokeswoman for the European Union called on Ukraine to make good on Kiev’s pledge to submit the new law to the Council of Europe to obtain an “expert opinion” on whether it would meet the EU’s stated language policy.

    Maja Kocijancic said such language laws “need to be carefully balanced” so as to address “the need the protect minority and regional languages”. The Council of Europe’s opinion according to Kocijancic, “should be duly taken into account…in advance of implementation of the legislation”.

    From next year, only kindergarteners would be allowed to learn the curriculum in their native tongues in Ukraine, and by 2020, it would actually become illegal under the newly signed law.

    The new law’s language requirement overturns a 2012 law passed under then-President Viktor Yanukovych, that allowed for minorities to introduce their languages in regions where they represented more than 10 percent of the population.

    One resident who doesn’t see much of a future for her four children in Ukraine, told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in a recent interview that things were not improving in the country, “and I don’t think it’s going to get better, only worse”.

    The ethnic Hungarian from Mali Heivtsi in the west of the country, said that learning her native tongue was the only way to secure the future of her children.

    In June, the EU allowed visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens to most EU countries in what Poroshenko called a “final exit of our country from the Russian Empire” and in September, an Association Agreement strengthening ties between Ukraine and the EU entered into force.

    Yanukovych’s decision not to sign that agreement in 2013 has been presented as an excuse for his ouster.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the Catholic bishops who signed the letter, which was read out in churches throughout Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland over the Easter weekend. Photo: The Catholic Church

    Care prompts bishops to criticize transgender ideology

    The Catholic bishops of the Scandinavian countries presented an open five-page letter criticizing transgender ideology on March 21, just before Easter. The document primarily expresses care and advice and was read aloud in Catholic churches in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the signatories of the document.

    FREEZING IN THEIR HOMES is the new grim reality for many Brits and Northern Europeans. Margaret is 92 years old and has just come in from the winter cold, but no warmth awaits her at home. She fears her own home more than the icy streets. Next to her are four thick blankets, and on the shelf above the fireplace, which she can no longer afford to buy wood for, is a meter showing the daily cost of electricity (inset). It shows £1.03, about 13 SEK. When it reaches £3, about 38 SEK, she is forced to turn off the little heat she has to afford it. Still image: ITW News

    Brits Forced to Live in Darkness and Cold

    Food prices are rising at a furious pace, fastest in Scotland in almost half a century. At the same time, energy prices are at record highs. People are forced to choose between freezing or going hungry, and a majority of Scots are forced to live in cold and darkness to cope with bills. Old generations' tricks for saving and keeping warm are returning. Nevertheless, it is feared that 10,000 Brits will die of cold homes this winter. We present the Swedish Public Health Agency's guidelines on indoor temperature. Governments in Europe are introducing rationing and monitoring of food purchases. Net-zero emissions are a lie that, in practice, de-industrializes the West and dramatically lowers our standard of living.

    Thousands of Flemish farmers block roads in Brussels against nitrogen policy

    BrusselsMore than 2500 farmers from Belgium's Dutch-speaking Flanders region gathered at Brussels' central Arts-Loi street and blocked roads with tractors toward Brussels to protest the regional government's plan to limit nitrogen emissions.

    Orban: EU energy sanctions costing citizens billions

    BudapestHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that some western states could soon send troops to Ukraine. He also criticized the fact that the EU sanctions against Russia had cost Hungarian taxpayers tens of billions of euros.

    Italy: New leader of the Social Democrats is one of Soros’ ‘preferred politicians’

    RomeDuring the election campaign, Elly Schlein presented herself as the standard-bearer of the poorest. However, her background and previous work raise doubts about her honesty.

    UK greenhouses shut down due to high energy costs

    LondonIn Great Britain, a particularly depressing facet of the crisis is now showing its first contours - and thus anticipating what is likely to happen in other European countries in the near future: because of the exploding energy prices, agriculture is being strangled and fresh produce has to be rationed.

    Lisbon opens borders to all Portuguese speakers

    LisbonNot only the German and Italian governments keep opening new paths for immigration. Portugal, too, has opened a Pandora's box and is paving the way for possibly millions of non-European immigrants to the EU – something which is not mentioned by the mainstream media.

    Illegal immigration to Italy has reached its highest level ever

    RomeIn Italy, despite the overwhelming right-wing electoral success in September, there is still nothing to be seen of the promised asylum turnaround – on the contrary. Giorgia Meloni has been in office for five months, but the arrivals of migrants in Italy have doubled compared to the previous year.

    Dismantling diplomacy with ‘feminist foreign policy’

    BudapestGerman Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) wants to counter German security issues abroad with feminist politics. Gender training, LGBTQ events and quotas are now part of their new guidelines, which are intended to bring about "cultural change". The German ambassador to Hungary, Julia Gross, provided an embarrassing example.

    Germans demand investigation of Nord Stream sabotage

    BerlinAfter the sensational revelations by US investigative reporter Seymour Hersh about the perpetrators of the Nord Stream attacks on September 26, 2022, the German government has remained silent. It does not want to comment on Hersh's research results, according to which the pipelines were blown up by Americans and Norwegians.

    Go to archive