“Hungary has an interest in maintaining good neighbourly relations with Ukraine, and its wish is that its eastern neighbour be a democratic country that respects its international commitments, and which regards the national minorities living within its borders, including the Hungarian community, as a resource”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared on Monday in Luxembourg.

Mr. Szijjártó was attending a meeting of foreign ministers from the European Union and the countries involved in the Eastern Partnership Programme.

Following a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Mr. Szijjártó stressed: “Ukraine has no basis for not regarding its minorities are resources, or thinking the opposite”.

“Hungary is always open to consultation”, Mr. Szijjártó added.

“Hungary expects Ukraine to show, not only in words, but also in deeds, that it does not want to exacerbate the situation that has developed, but wants instead to find a solution to it”, he highlighted.

He declared that as far as gestures go, Hungary has done what it can in view of the fact that it has provided 27.5 billion forints (EUR 85 million) in funding for Ukrainian economic development programmes over the past four years.

“We have provided free holidays in Hungary to 2600 Ukrainian children who are or were affected by the fighting in Eastern Ukraine, and have undertaken the free medical treatment of 36 wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Hungary provided immediate assistance when requested by Ukraine to ensure the unimpeded flow of drinking water in Western Ukraine, in addition to which it is providing hundreds of scholarships to young Ukrainians at Hungarian universities, the full costs of which are being born by the Hungarian State”, he said.

Mr. Szijjártó expressed his hope that Ukraine will also make decisions that move the situation that has developed towards a solution.

As he explained, certain factors give cause for concern, however, since Ukraine has not kept any of the promises it made with relation to the amendment of the Ukrainian Education Act.

“Hungary cannot interpret the immediate adoption of the Language Act by Ukrainian Parliament as a step towards a solution. If the Language Act is adopted in its current form, it will make the use of the Hungarian language in the media and culture impossible”, he said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was also worrying that the Mirotrovec website has made the personal data of hundreds of Hungarian private individuals publicly available to everyone. He has asked the Ukrainian Foreign Minister to take action with regard to the issue, he told the press.

Mr. Szijjártó said  the petition published on the website of Ukraine’s Parliament, which is calling for the deportation of Transcarpathian Hungarians, is also cause for concern.

“It is unacceptable, impermissible and abhorrent that signatures can be collected for such a proposal in Europe today”, he underlined.

As he explained, he and his Ukrainian counterpart agreed that this phenomenon must stop.

Mr. Szijjártó said he and Pavlo Klimkin had agreed on mutually permitting the presence of an honorary consul in each country.

“In addition, Hungary will consider changing the title of the Government Commissioner for the Coordination of the Transcarpathian Development Programme, without modifying his area of operations and function, parallel to which the authorisation procedure for a new Hungarian Ambassador to Kiev could also come to a close” he added.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)