Hungary announced that it will block Ukraine’s aspirations to integrate into NATO over a law that forces all Ukrainians study in a single language.
Not on My Watch: Hungary Vetoes NATO-Ukraine Summit
Hungary stated that it cannot support Ukraine's integration into the military bloc and vetoed the NATO-Ukraine Committee summit scheduled take place in December, the Foreign Ministry of Hungary announced, according toa statement published onthe country's government website - writes sputniknews.com.
The reason for the veto lies withthe so-called Law on Education, adopted bythe Ukrainian Parliament inSeptember. According tothe law, school students will be required tostudy inthe Ukrainian language. The law allows for one or several disciplines to be taught inanother language— either English or other official European Union language.
"The law specifies that the language ofthe educational process atschools and colleges is the national language. It is also stipulated that educational institutions, according to the educational program, could teach one or more subjects intwo or more languages, namely the national language, English or other official languages ofthe European Union," UNIAN news agency reported in September.
According to Hungary's Foreign Minister ofForeign Affairs, Peter Szijarto, the recently adopted law "brutally mutilates" the rights of minorities living inthe country. There are some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine's Zakarpatie region.
"The law is a serious step back inthe area of minority rights, and we can not leave it without speaking up," he added, according to Xinhua.
Hungary has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine's NATO integration aspirations, Szijarto noted during the press conference, but the September law was perceived asa "stab in the back."
According to Xinhua, Szijar to underscored that Hungary will continue to In September, Hungary urged Ukraine no to adopt the highly controversial law and warned that Budapest "will block all steps withinthe European Union that would represent a step forward in Ukraine's European integration process," RT reports.
There is no way to circumvent Hungary's veto, asonly a unanimous vote of all NATO members allows for a summit with Ukraine, the minister pointed out during the press conference.
According toConflict Observer's Jonathan Wade, the Ukrainian Law on Education will further separate Russian-speaking people of Donbass and Lugansk, and the mainland.
"Through this law, citizens of Ukraine inthe Donbass and other predominantly Russian-speaking regions, who have been speaking Russian forgenerations, will have toabandon their language and adopt one of the state-approved languages. The self-proclaimed Republics will never accept that and their independence claims will be further strengthened by Ukraine's willingness to erase minority cultures," he wrote .
Wade observed that Ukraine's intention to wipe away the Russian language was the reason the Crimean peninsula declared independence.
"The reunification ofCrimea and Russia was also based onUkraine's willingness to erase the Russian culture and adopting Ukrainian as the only official language of the country, making it impossible forthe vast majority of Crimeans to interact with government officials," Wade noted.
In July, Ukrainian President Poroshenko signed a law making the country's accession to NATO the key goal of Ukraine foreign policy.
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