In the interests of protecting the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia, the Hungarian Government is submitting a memorandum to NATO calling for the introduction of a new policy with relation to Ukraine.

According to the document, despite the never before seen level of political and financial support provided by NATO, the EU, the IMF, the World Bank and a large number of states, the Ukrainian Government lacks the political will and capacity to realise the fundamental reform programmes aimed at reorganising the country’s economic political and social systems that are required by international donors.

In the Government’s view, the lack of progress within reform areas of key importance and the continuous attacks with relation to minority rights on the part of the state have resulted in a dangerous level of instability. The failure to introduce a credible modernisation plan in harmony with the international commitments and criteria that Ukraine has previously accepted, means that “the already fragile country is becoming increasingly vulnerable under both domestic and external pressure”.

Accordingly, “Ukraine has represented a security challenge to its neighbours, including Hungary”, the memorandum states.

Ukraine is once again failing to fulfil its international commitments and undertakings. It is regularly introducing legislation that is aimed at restricting minority rights. “Kiev has set out on a path that leads to the violation of the existing rights of minorities”, the Hungarian Government writes. As an example, the memorandum highlights the Ukrainian Education Act, which, as the Government explains, contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and NATO’s National Programme for 2017.

The memorandum also states that the Hungarian Government has consistently voiced its concerns with relation to Article 7 of the Ukrainian Education Act, which grossly violates the rights of minorities to use their native languages within the field of teaching and education. Ukraine, however, has still not conducted the required consultations with minority representatives, in addition to which the Ukrainian Government was not open to Hungary’s proposal for a solution. “Despite the promises, the Ukrainian Government immediately began the implementation of the discriminative regulations”, the document underlines.

In the Government’s view, the Ukrainian state has become so weak that it is incapable of fulfilling such fundamental obligations as the protection of the rule of law, and economic, social and political leadership.

The document also draws attention to the fact that NATO’S current Ukraine policy has also not achieved the expected results, with relation to which the memorandum recalls Kiev’s decision to deploy troops to the NATO border after having had no military presence in the region for years. All this indicates that “Ukraine is incapable of fulfilling its obligations within various international organisations”, the documents states.

According to the Hungarian Government, in the interests of maintaining the NATO enlargement process it is vital for Ukraine to fulfil its commitments in accordance with its annual national programme, including the protection of minority rights. The legislation adopted by, and which is in the process of being adopted by, Ukraine’s parliament is contrary to Ukraine’s commitments towards NATO, the document explains, noting that these pieces of legislation directly violate the rights and interests of citizens and minority groups belonging to NATO member states.

For this reason, in the interests of maintain the NATO enlargement process the Hungarian Government is proposing that the Ukrainian Government must assure that minority groups belonging to NATO member states are exempted from the implementation of laws that restrict the rights of national minorities. Although, as the document notes, this solution does not correspond to the requirement of non-discrimination, but it does provide an opportunity for Ukraine to remain on the path towards NATO integration. Then again, the credibility of Ukraine’s integration process will become extremely questionable, the memorandum adds.

“In the interests of preserving the stability of our eastern neighbourhood, NATO should adjust its Ukraine policy to meet these new conditions”, the Hungarian Government states at the end of the memorandum.

Hungary’s new Cabinet held its inaugural session last Friday under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. At the time, Mr. Orbán’s Press Chief, Bertalan Havasi, already informed the press that at its first meeting the new Cabinet had drawn up the new act on the Cabinet’s spheres of authority and competence, in addition to which it also adopted the memorandum drafted in the interests of protecting Transcarpathian Hungarians, which will be sent to the Prime Minister of every NATO member state and to the organisation’s Secretary General.