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Hungary asking to return its minority rights in Zakarpattia before 2015

Hungary asking to return its minority rights in Zakarpattia before 2015 Photo: Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó (Getty Images)

Hungary is asking Ukraine to return the rights of its national minority in Zakarpattia, which existed before 2015, says the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Peter Szijjártó at a joint press conference with the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, and the head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak.

"We came here to restore good-neighborly relations, we have a long way to go, but we, on the Hungarian side, are ready to do this work. In Zakarpattia, Hungarians and Ukrainians live in peace," he said.

Szijjártó said that difficult issues were discussed during the meeting. In particular, he added that recently Ukraine and Hungary had bad neighborly relations.

"Starting from 2017, such laws were passed that reduced the rights of the Hungarian national minority. In December, the parliament adopted a law that stopped this. But we have a request - maybe it is too much, and you will think that I am not polite - but we are asking to return to the Hungarian minority all the rights it had before 2015. We are not asking for anything else," the Hungarian minister said.

Relations between Ukraine and Hungary

Relations between Ukraine and Hungary worsened back in 2017 when the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law on education, which stipulates that the language of the educational process in educational institutions is the state language. However, according to the educational program, one or more subjects may be taught in two or more languages.

This, in turn, has repeatedly caused outrage on the part of Hungary, which has accused Ukraine of the alleged problems of national minorities in Zakarpattia, while the Prime Minister of the country, Viktor Orban, has regularly made absurd statements.

Amendments to the law on national minorities

On December 8 of last year, the Verkhovna Rada approved several draft laws, among which was No. 10288-1 on the protection of the rights of national minorities in certain areas, taking into account the recommendations of the Council of Europe. All laws have already been signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.