Language law, border tensions, mark the decline of Hungarian-Ukrainian relations

Hungary's long-standing approach to block ministerial level Ukraine-NATO Commission meetings was criticized by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ivana Klympush-Tsintsadze on 29 March, who stated Budapest is creating a dangerous precedent for NATO's future cooperation with partner states.

Klympush-Tsintsadze also confirmed Ukraine's readiness to incorporate recommendations of the Venice Commission into the controversial law on education, which came into force last September and introduced changes to the national minorities language of instruction. According to the Hungarian government, who demands its revision, the law violates the rights of the Hungarian minority living in Transcarpathia. Last month, Budapest is said to have held talks with OSCE regarding the deployment of a monitoring mission in Transcarpathia. Nevertheless, this speculation was not confirmed by OSCE and on 16 March was also vehemently denounced by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. Tensions between the two countries escalated when Ukraine decided in March to deploy 1,000 soldiers in the village of Beregovo which is inhabited mostly by ethnic Hungarians. For these reasons, Budapest remains committed to blocking any further convergence of Ukraine with international organizations, which in the short term threatens to cancel a meeting of Ukraine’s and EU defence ministers in April as well as a summer Ukraine-NATO summit.

About author: Tomáš Hošek

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