Péter Szijjártó called the Language Act adopted by Ukrainian Parliament on Thursday unacceptable. In a statement to public media, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “The Act, which violates the rights of the Hungarian national community, is indicative of the mentality of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who practiced anti-Hungarian politics”.

“However, Ukrainian voters elected another President in the person of Volodymyr Zelensky with a large majority, and have put an end to the Poroshenko era”, indicated Mr. Szijjártó, who is on an official visit to Beijing. “Our hope is that, while standing on a foundation of mutual respect and with the intent to find solutions, we will be able to resolve the situation that has arisen as a result of the legislation that affects the rights of the Hungarian national community with the new President, who was elected with an overwhelming majority”, the Minister said.

The first statements of the new Ukrainian President may even give rise to hope, and for this reason, after he takes office “we will be doing everything possible in the interests of repairing the relationship between Ukraine and Hungary”, and to restore the earlier period during which we were able to make highly positive statements concerning relations between the two countries. “Our goal is for there to be friendship between Hungary and Ukraine, and the results of the recent Ukrainian presidential elections provide a certain amount of hope that this can be successfully developed”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

On Thursday, Ukrainian Parliament adopted the so-called Language Act, a bill aimed at assuring the use of Ukrainian as the state language, with a large majority of 278 votes. Transcarpathian Hungarian organisations have been objecting strongly to the new law recently, because they believe it will do away with all of the language rights previously afforded to minorities. With the exception of private conversations and religious services, the Act essentially makes the use of the Ukrainian language compulsory, and violation of Ukrainian or the regulations could result in legal proceedings. Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko indicated in advance that he would be signing the new law after it is adopted by Parliament, but newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement that after he enters office he will be examining the Language Act with relation to whether the new legislation respects the rights of all citizens.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)