Skip to content

Hungary threatens to block Ukraine’s entry into NATO because of its language law

December 4, 2019

BUDAPEST, Dec. 4 (Reuters / EP) –

The Hungarian Government has announced that it will veto the entry of Ukraine into NATO if it does not restore the rights of the Hungarian community to receive education in their mother tongue, alluding to a language law passed in 2017 and restricting the use of minority languages .

“We do not ask for any additional rights for Hungarians in Transcarpathia, only those who had before,” said Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, in statements to the state news agency MTI coinciding with the NATO leaders summit in London.

The measure would affect some 150,000 people and is framed within a theme, that of languages, especially sensitive for Ukraine, where reforms have been promoted in recent years to promote the local language in public institutions, schools and education centers, in an attempt to regain presence against the Russian.

The Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe, urged the Ukrainian authorities in 2017 to guarantee education in official European languages, such as Hungarian and Romanian. The president of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, said in October that the country “is complying with all the recommendations” of that body.