“Hungary will block all steps within the European Union that would represent a step forward in Ukraine’s European integration process in the spirit of the Eastern Partnership programme”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Tuesday after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the country’s new Education Act.

“We can guarantee that all this will be painful for Ukraine in future”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said with relation to Hungary’s response to the signing of the new legislation, speaking from Singapore, where he arrived as part of an official delegation headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, it is shameful and outrageous that the Ukrainian President has signed the Education Act.

The new law has generated major protests both at home and abroad, including in Hungary, in view of the fact that it reduces the rights of minorities to receive education in their native languages. According to the new legislation, with the exclusion of native language subjects, in future children from national minorities will be taught all subjects in Ukrainian from the fifth grade upwards (age ten).

Until now, President Poroshenko had spoken about the fact that the wants to take Ukraine closer to Europe, but with today’s decision “he has moved further away from Europe and taken a huge step in the opposite direction”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

Petro Poroshenko has until now spoken about a European Ukraine, he continued, “but this is something he can now forget about to all intents and purposes” in view of the fact that Hungary will be blocking all initiatives that could be favourable for Ukraine at all possible forums and all international organisations, and primarily within the EU.

Now that the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine and the agreement on visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens have been concluded, Ukraine is “nurturing the hope” that they will now be able to take further steps along the road to European integration. “Well that’s something they can now forget about”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade declared.

“At the currently ongoing Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Hungary will be vetoing all EU comments or viewpoints that that do not condemn Ukraine with sufficient force and determination”, Mr. Szijjártó added.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)