Ukraine regards some of its citizens as second-class when it restricts rights related to the use of languages, Bence Rétvári, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Human Capacities said on Sunday in Vác at a commemoration held at the local World War I monument.

The Christian democrat politician, who is also Member of Parliament for the constituency, pointed out that with the law on the use of languages Ukraine restricts and represses the language rights of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia when it only allows students to study in their own languages in the lower grades of elementary school.

Mr Rétvári drew attention to the fact that the Ukrainian constitution and international treaties guarantee that acquired rights cannot be taken away. Teaching their children in their mother tongue is an acquired right of the Hungarians living there, he stressed.

The Parliamentary State Secretary said it was incomprehensible that some leaders of the European Union are more concerned with the rights of illegal migrants coming here from afar than with the rights of people who have lived in Europe for hundreds or even thousands of years. He pointed out that it is not Brussels, Budapest or Kiev that should determine how Hungarians should live in Transcarpathia; instead the Ukrainian state should conduct talks with the organisations of those living there.

Mr Rétvári also highlighted that the Venice Commission called upon the Kiev government to start consultations with representatives of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia already a year ago, but Ukraine has failed to meet this obligation to this day. Until this obligation is met, the Hungarian government will continue to regularly call upon the Kiev leadership to honour its obligation and will block some of its aspirations on the international scene, he warned.

The Parliamentary State Secretary said at the wreath-laying ceremony held as part of the 12th Twin Family Meeting of the Family Network Foundation that this meeting serves as a certain point of reference in cross-border Hungarian-Hungarian relations: in the past few months 1,200 people have attended these programmes, and cross-border twin-family relations have been established in the case of more than 700 families. He added it is to be hoped that as a result a stable point of reference has been created for the Hungarian community living amidst the most difficult circumstances, for Hungarian families in Transcarpathia.