“Hungary is unable to support Ukraine’s integration aspirations, and this is why it has vetoed the convening of the NATO-Ukraine Committee’s session in December”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a press conference in Budapest on Friday.

Until early September, Hungary was one of the loudest and most active proponents of Ukraine’s integration aspirations, but regards the adoption of the Education Act as a “stab in the back”, the Minister highlighted. “We would still be glad to support the countries aspirations today”, but Hungary can only support countries that have deserved this through their decisions and behaviour, he pointed out.

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Mr. Szijjártó reminded the press that when Ukraine’s Parliament adopted the new Education Act, Hungary has indicated that it would be making use of all possible diplomatic instruments to force Ukraine’s legislature to rescind the new regulations that have “brutally mutilated” the rights of minorities living in the country. The Act is a major step backwards within the field of minority rights and “this is something we cannot ignore”, he added.

“Hungary remains ready to enter into negotiations, but cannot accept the fact that the new legislation is leading to a significant decrease in minority rights”, the Foreign Minister declared.

“The stakes are high”, and the upcoming agenda of the Ukrainian Parliament also includes the planned Language and Nationality Acts, which are threatening the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia”, he pointed out. “If we do not take a stand against the Education Act with suitable force now, it could encourage Ukraine to freely adopt the other two pieces of new legislation”, he added.

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“We will continue to take similar diplomatic action until Transcarpathian Hungarians indicate that the situation has been resolved in a suitable manner”, Mr. Szijjártó stated.

In reply to a question, he told reporters that there is no way to circumvent the Hungarian decision because the convening of the NATO-Ukraine Committee requires a unanimous vote. The Foreign Minister said that in his opinion: “National interests are in first place among the motives of anyone who is involved in international politics, and other countries are also representing their own interests, and accordingly Hungary should also not be modest or shy”.

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On Friday, Hungarian news portal Origo reported on the fact that Hungary had vetoed the convening of the upcoming session NATO-Ukraine Committee, which was scheduled for 6 December on the sidelines of the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, in view of Ukraine’s Education Act.