“Hungary regards it as vital, and accordingly calls on the Council of Europe to take the protection of European minorities seriously”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Monday in Strasbourg at a two-day conference held to mark the 20th anniversary of the coming into force of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, with relation to which he issued a telephone statement to Hungarian news agency MTI.

Mr. Szijjártó stressed that it is unacceptable, and European institutions maintained from the money of European taxpayers cannot worry more about immigrants who arrive on the continent illegally and present a danger, than they do for national minorities who have been living here in Europe for centuries. “It cannot be the case that a European institution should be more worried about the effectiveness of Hungarian border protection and the Stop Soros legislative package that is aimed at assuring the security of Hungarian citizens, than it is about Transcarpathian Hungarians whose rights are being grossly violated in Ukraine”, the Minister underlined.

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The Minister also pointed out that Transcarpathian Hungarians in Ukraine have been stripped of previously acquired rights because of the decision of the country’s Parliament. “Although the Council of Europe has verbally assured Hungary and the recommendations of the Venice Commission of its support, Ukraine has not implemented any of those recommendations, and in fact the implementation of the new Act has begun despite the fact that no agreement has been reached between the Ukrainian administration and representatives of the Hungarian minority” he said.

“Certain European countries that are also members of the Council of Europe cannot be allowed to trample over the rights of minorities while totally ignoring the opinion of the Venice Commission”, he said.

“Hungary’s expectation towards the Council of Europe is that it ensures that the previous recommendations of the Venice Commission are enforced, and that it calls on Ukraine to withdraw the measures that negatively affect the Hungarian national community and grossly violate the rights of the Hungarian minority”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade declared.

He pointed out that the Venice Commission also has expectations with relation to Hungary concerning the as yet un-adopted Stop Soros legislative package, which is aimed at protecting Hungary, but is less active with relation to the already valid Ukrainian legislation.

“The Hungarian Government will continue to do everything and to provide all assistance in the interests of assuring that the protection of minority rights is enforced as an important European policy”, Mr Szijjártó added.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)