“The situation with relation to Ukraine has significantly worsened in view of the fact that nothing has happened with relation to amendment of the Education Act and the new Language Act, which strips national communities of their right to use their native language in culture, media and public administration, in addition to education, has also been adopted”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Brussels on Thursday.

In a statement to Hungarian reporters following a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade stressed that Hungary regards it as unacceptable that people who are citizens of NATO countries are being placed on lists and investigations are being conducted against them using secret service methods.


“It is unacceptable on the part of a country that is striving to join NATO and establish closer relations with the organisation that it should act against the Hungarian minority in the manner that has recently been experienced, as is the fact that Kiev did not take immediate action with regard to these issues”, Mr. Szijjártó underlined.

As he explained, he briefed the Secretary General concerning the fact that the petition collecting signatures for the deportation of Transcarpathian Hungarians was still up and active on the Ukrainian Parliament website yesterday afternoon.

“It is clear that under such conditions we cannot approve the holding of a NATO-Ukraine council meeting during the next meeting of foreign ministers”, he stated.

He underlined that the convening of such a meeting depends only on Ukraine, in view of the fact that the conditions that the Venice Commission put forward, and which have since been adopted by the European Union and NATO, are not impossible. The Minister asked Jens Stoltenberg whether Ukraine’s commitment to NATO can in fact be taken seriously if Kiev is not conforming to the simple conditions that have been known for a year now.

“Hungary is not only maintaining its presence in NATO missions, but is prepared to increase its role”, Mr. Szijjártó told the press. According to the Minister, Hungary could soon begin talks with its North-Atlantic military allies with relation to the future role of the 77 Hungarian soldiers who recently returned home from the UN mission in Cyprus. A working group will soon be set up in the interests of this, which will examine which international missions have spare capacities that need filling.

Hungary is the third largest contributor to the NATO mission in Kosovo, the number of Hungarian military personnel serving in Afghanistan will soon increase to over a hundred, and Hungary is also present in Iraq in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, he added.

The Minister said he had informed the Secretary General that in the interests of developing its military, Hungary has introduced measures aimed at establishing its own production capacities and is preparing to conclude major equipment procurement contracts with other NATO member states, thanks to which the undertaken 20 percent ratio of spending within the defence budget will be successfully realised next year. In addition, the 2 percent of GDP level of defence spending will be achieved by the 2024 deadline.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade also stressed that Hungary remains a pro-enlargement country, and in its opinion the stability of the Western Balkans is a fundamental security policy issue.

“Hungary supports Macedonia’s accession to NATO at the earliest opportunity, and also supports the activation of the membership action plan for Bosnia and Georgia”, Mr. Szijjártó said.