Ukrainian Government Ready for Compromise with Hungary on Language and Education: There Is a Red Line

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Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna is confident that Ukraine will reach an agreement with Hungary on the level of the EU requirements’ fulfilment to protect the rights of national minorities. She stated this at a press conference in Kyiv on Thursday. Stefanishyna emphasized that she is primarily focused on ensuring the rights of Ukrainian citizens of Hungarian origin, and that she does not see the level of problems in this issue as it may seem from the actions and statements of the Hungarian government. “We share the issues of the Hungarian minority’s rights in Ukraine and the demands of the Hungarian government, which raises this issue. Because the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine are secured,” she said. The deputy prime minister also rejected claims that Hungarians were particularly affected by Russian aggression. “The Hungarian minority suffered much less than, let’s say, the Greek minority in the Azov region,” she reminded. Olha Stefanishyna admits that Hungary retains the right to block Ukraine’s EU accession process, but she “does not believe that the Hungarian problem should be considered as the main one in the EU enlargement process”. “I am sure that we will be able to overcome this challenge as well. I am sure that we will find political mutual understanding,” she claimed. According to the deputy prime minister, the dialogue with the EU on how Ukraine will improve the protection of representatives of the Hungarian community is now ongoing. In particular, in September, the Ukrainian delegation handed Hungary a detailed roadmap, which included both practical steps, for example, to provide Hungarian-speaking children with textbooks, and plans to change the legislation. When asked whether Ukraine had any “red lines” in legislative changes, Stefanishyna said, “These changes will definitely not concern studying of the Ukrainian language.” As European Pravda reported, Stefanishyna said that there is no Russian minority in Ukraine, so its “rights” are not raised in negotiations with the EU. In addition, the European Commission allegedly claimed that it refused to take into account the “rights of Russian speakers” on Ukraine’s path to the EU.